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Large 8vo, half red-morocco gilt. 

Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial English. By J. S. 
FARMER and the late W. E. HENLEY. Abridged from 
the seven-volume work. 542 pp. 

Passing English of the Victorian Era. By J. BEDDING 
WARE. (Forming a Supplement to the above.) 

Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete 
Phrases, &c. By J. 0. HALLIWELL. 998 pp. 

Glossary of Words, Phrases, Names and Illusions. By 
Archdeacon NARES. Edited by J. 0. HALLIWBLL and 
T. WRIGHT. 992 pp. 

English Quotations. By ROBINSON SMITH. 

The Eosicrucians. By HARGRAVE JENNINGS. With 300 
illustrations and 12 plates. 

Shakespeare Word-book. By JOHN FOBTBR, M.A. 

Prof. E. DOWDEN, writes : 

' One of the special distinctions of the book lies in its tracings 
of the ramifications of meaning, and I think there is a delight- 
ful training of the mind in following its guidance here. But, 
apart from this, as a mere swift aid in getting past difficulties 
in reading Shakespeare, it will be most useful, and all the more 
useful because of its condensation. ' 








As forests shed their foliage by degrees, 

So fade expressions which in season please. BYRON. 





This Work forms a Companion Volume to 





HERE is a numerically weak collection of instances of 'Passing 
English '. It may be hoped that there are errors on every page, 
and also that no entry is ' quite too dull '. Thousands of words 
and phrases in existence in 1870 have drifted away, or changed 
their forms, or been absorbed, while as many have been added 
or are being added. 'Passing English' ripples from countless 
sources, forming a river of new language which has its tide and 
its ebb, while its current brings down new ideas and carries away 
those that have dribbled out of fashion. Not only is 'Passing 
English ' general ; it is local ; often very seasonably local. 
Careless etymologists might hold that there are only four divisions 
of fugitive language in London west, east, north and south. But 
the variations are countless. Holborn knows little of Petty Italia 
behind Hatton Garden, and both these ignore Clerkenwell, which is 
equally foreign to Islington proper; in the South, Lambeth 
generally ignores the New Cut, and both look upon Southwark 
as linguistically out of bounds; while in Central London, Clare 
Market (disappearing with the nineteenth century) had, if it no 
longer has, a distinct fashion in words from its great and partially 
surviving rival through the centuries the world of Seven Dials, 
which is in St Giles's St James's being practically in the next 
parish. In the East the confusion of languages is a world of 
' variants ' there must be half-a-dozen of Anglo-Yiddish alone 
all, however, outgrown from the Hebrew stem. ' Passing English ' 
belongs to all the classes, from the peerage class who have always 
adopted an imperfection in speech or frequency of phrase associated 
with the court, to the court of the lowest costermonger, who gives 
the fashion to his immediate entourage. Much passing English 
becomes obscure almost immediately upon its appearance such 
as ' Whoa, Emma ! ' or ' How's your poor feet ? ' the first from an 
inquest in a back street, the second from a question by Lord 
Palmerston addressed to the then Prince of Wales upon the 


return of the latter from India. ' Everything is nice in my 
garden' came from Osborne. 'O.K.' for 'orl kerrect' (All 
Correct) was started by Vance, a comic singer, while in the 
East district, 'to Wainwright' a woman (i.e. to kill her) comes 
from the name of a murderer of that name. So boys in these 
later days have substituted 'He's a reglar Charlie' for 'He's 
a reglar Jack' meaning Jack Sheppard, while Charley is a 
loving diminutive of Charles Peace, a champion scoundrel of our 
generation. The Police Courts yield daily phrases to 'Passing 
English ', while the life of the day sets its mark upon every hour. 
Between the autumn of 1899, and the middle of 1900, a Chadband 
became a Kruger, while a plucky, cheerful man was described 
as a 'B.P.' (Baden Powell). Li Hung Chang remained in London 
not a week, but he was called 'Lion Chang' before he had gone 
twice to bed in the Metropolis. Indeed, proper names are a 
great source of trouble in analysing Passing English. 'Dead 
as a door nail' is probably as O'Donnel. The phrase comes 
from Ireland, where another fragment Til smash you into 
Smithereens' means into Smither's ruins though no one seems 
to know who Smithers was. Again, a famous etymologist has 
assumed 'Right as a trivet' to refer to a kitchen-stove, whereas 
the 'trivet' is the last century pronunciation of Truefit, the 
supreme Bond Street wig-maker, whose wigs were perfect hence 
the phrase. Proper names are truly pitfalls in the study of 
colloquial language. What is a ' Bath Oliver,' a biscuit invented 
by a Dr Oliver of Bath ; again there is the bun named after 
Sally Lunn, while the Scarborough Simnel is a cake accidentally 
discovered by baking two varying superposed cakes in one tin. 
In Scarborough, some natives now say the cake comes down 
from the pretender Simnel, who became cook or scullion to 
Henry VII. Turning in another direction, it may be suggested 
that most exclamations are survivals of Catholicism in England, 
such as 'Ad's Bud' 'God's Bud' (Christ); 'Cot's So' 'God's 
oath'; 'S'elp me greens ' meaning groans; more blue (still 
heard in Devonshire) morbleu (probably from Bath and the 
Court of Charles II.) the 'blue death ' or the 'blue-blood death ' 
the crucifixion. ' Please the pigs ' is evidently pyx ; while the 
dramatic 'sdeath is clearly 'His Death'; even the still common 
' Bloody Hell 'is 'By our lady, hail ', the lady being the Virgin. 
There are hundreds of these exclamations, many wholly local. 



Amongst authors perhaps no writer has given so many words to 
the language as Dickens from his first work, ' Pickwick ', to 
almost his last, when he popularised Dr Bowdler; anglicization 
is, however, the chief agent in obscuring meanings, as, for instance, 
gooseberry fool is just gooseberry fouille, moved about of course 
through the sieve. Antithesis again has much to answer for. 
' Dude ' having noted itself, ' fade ' was discovered as its opposite ; 
'Mascotte' a luck-bringer having been brought to England, the 
clever ones very soon found an antithesis in Jonah, who, it 
will be recalled, was considered an unlucky neighbour. Be it 
repeated not an hour passes without the discovery of a new 
word or phrase as the hours have always been as the hours 
will always be. Nor is it too ambitious to suggest that passing 
language has something to do with the daily history of the 
nation. Be this all as it may be here is a phrase book offered 
to, it may be hoped, many readers, the chief hope of the author, 
in relation with this work, being that he may be found amusing, 
if neither erudite nor useful. Plaudite. 

J. R. W. 


ab. . 

. about 

Mid. . 



. abbreviation 





M. P. 

Morning Pott 

art. . 


Mus. Hall . 

Music Hall 

Austral. . 

. Australia 

N. . . 


Bk. . 

. Book 

Newsp. Cutting . 

Newspaper cutting 

N. Y. 

New York 

Ca. . 

. Canto 

c. Eng. 

. common English 

0. Eng. 

Old English 

cent. . 

. century 

on ... 

onwards, as 1890 on= 


. compare 

1890 and years fol- 

ch. . 

. chapter 


C. L. . 

. common life 

0. S. . 

old style 

com. , comui. 


commerc. . 

. commercial 

P. House . 

Public House 

corr. . 

. corruption 

Peo. . 

The People 

crit. . 

. criticism 



D. C. . 

Daily Chronicle 

polit. . 
Pub. Sch. . 

Public School 

D. els. 

. Dangerous Classes 

D. M. 

. Daily Mail 

q. v. . 

which see 

D. N. 
D. T. 

. Daily News 
. Daily Telegraph 

qq.v. . 

which (plural) see 

E. . 

Railway, Koyal 

e.g. . 

. East 
. for example 

Ref. . . . 


E. N. 

. Evening News 



Eng., Engl. 

. England, English 

Sat. Rev. . 

Saturday Review 

Hist. . 

. historical 

Soc. . 


Span., Sp. . 



. that is 

St. ... 


/. L. N. . 

. Illustrated London 

St. . 



S. Exch. . 

Stock Exchange 

Ind. . 


Theat., Theatr. . 


L. . 

. Low Class 

Tr. . 


L. C. and D. 

. London, Chatham 


Univ. . 


L. C. . 

. Lower Class 


United States of 

Lit. . 

. literary 


Lond., Lon. 




M. Class . 

. Middle Class 


. Metropolitan 

W. . 



A. D. 

Academy Headache 

A. D. (Ball-room programme). 
Drink, disguised, thus : 


1. Polka 

2. Valse 

3. Valse 

4. Lanoers 

5. Valse 

6. Valse 

7. Quadrille 

8. Valse 

Etc., etc. 

Polly J. 
A. D. 
Miss F. 
Polly J. 
A. D. 

Miss M. A. T. 
Polly J. 
A. D. 

The ingeniousness of this arrangement 
is that young ladies see 'A. D.', and 
assume the youth engaged. 

Abernethy (Peoples'}. A biscuit, so 
named after its inventor, Dr Abernethy 
(see Bath Oliver). 

Abisselfa (Suffolk). Alone. From 
' A by itself, A ' ; an old English way 
of stating the alphabet. 

Abney Park (Hast London). About 
1860. An abbreviation of Abney Park 
cemetery, a burial ground for a large 
proportion of those who die in the 
East End of London. Cemetery is a 
difficult word which the ignorant 
always avoid. Now used figuratively, 
e.g., 'Poor bloke, he's gone to Abney 
Park ' meaning that he is dead. 

We had a friendly lead in our court 
t'other night. Billy Johnson's kid 
snuffed it, and so all the coves about 
got up a ' friendly ' to pay for the funeral 
to plant it decent in Abney. Cutting. 

About and About (Soc., 1890 on). 
Mere chatter, the conversation of fools 
who talk for sheer talking's sake, e.g., 
1 A more about and about man never 
suggested or prompted sudden murder.' 

In an age of windy and pretentious 
gabble when the number of persons who 

can, and will, chatter 'about and about 
the various arts is in quite unprecedented 
disproportion to the number of those who 
are content to study these various arts 
in patience, and, above all, in silence 
there was something eminently salutary 
in Millais' bluff contempt for the more 
presumptuous theories of the amateurs. 
D. T., 14th August 1896. 

Above - board (Peoples'}. Frank, 
open. From sailors' lingo. Not 
between decks or in the hold, but 
above all the boards in the ship. 

Abraham's Willing (Rhyming}. 
Shilling. Generally reduced to willing, 
e.g., ' Lend us a willing.' 

He don't care an Abraham's willing for 
anybody. Newsp. Cutting. 

Absolutely True (Soc., ab. 1880). 
Absolutely false, from the title of a 
book, the statements in which, of a 
ghostly character, were difficult of 

Abyssinian Medal (Military). A 
button gone astray from its button- 
hole, one in the region of the abdomen. 
Introduced after the Abyssinian "War. 
(See Star in the East.) 

Academy (London). A billiard- 
room. Imported from Paris, 1885. 

An edict has been promulgated (Paris) 
forbidding the playing of games of chance 
on public thoroughfares or in cafes for 
money, and it is chiefly directed against 
the billiard rooms, or academies as they 
are called here. D. T., 26th July 1894. 

Academy Headache. When art 
became fashionable to a severe degree 
this malady appeared ; now applied 
generically to headaches acquired at 
any art galleries. 

Art critics complain of 'Academy head- 
ache' and of the fatigue produced by 

Academic Nudity 

Advertisement Conveyancers 

leagues of coloured canvases. D. N., 
15th April 1885. 

There has yet to arise the philosopher 
who can explain to us the precise cause 
of the 'Academy headache'. ... It is 
an experience familiar to many who ' do ' 
the great collection at Burlington House. 
Most persons who go to the Academy 
know the malady well. D. N., 4th June 

Academic Nudity ( Oxford). Appear- 
ance in public without cap or gown. 

After a tranquil pipe in a friend's room 
we set out again. Shall we take cap and 
gown, or shall we venture forth in a 
state of ' Academic nudity ' ? Perish 
the slavish thought ! We go without 
them. Cutting. 

Accident. A child born out of 

Accidented (Lit., 1884). Liable to 

An operatic season thus accidented 
can hardly prove prosperous, but may 
be pregnant of good if it teach intending 
managers of Italian opera to rely on 
general excellence of ensemble, rather 
than on stars that may at any moment 
be eclipsed. Globe, 1st July 1885. 

According to Cocker (Peoples'). 
Quite correct, according to rule. 
Cocker flourished in 1694, when the 
first edition of his Arithmetic appeared 
at the sign of the Black Boy on 
London Bridge. In the beginning 
there was no sense of the preposterous 
in declaring a thing was 'according 
to Cocker'. Probably the quaintness 
of the name brought down the dignity 
of the phrase. 

According to Gunter (Peoples'). 
Used precisely as 'according to 
Cocker '. Gunter was a distinguished 
arithmetician, and the inventor of a 
chain and scale for measuring. 
'Gunter's chain' is dragged over the 
land to this day. ' Give me the 
Gunter' is as common a phrase 
amongst surveyors as 'Give me the 
chain '. 

Acknowledge the Corn (Amer. 
English}. Adroit confession of minor 
offence to intensify the denial of the 
major offence: e.g., 'Sir, I believe 
you are after my wife and you 
certainly pocketed my meerschaum last 
Sunday evening at 10.30.' To which 
the answer might be: 'Well, I 
acknowledge the corn I took the 
pipe by incident, so to speak ; but as 
to Mrs H., I'm as innocent as the 
skipping lamb.' Said to arise from 

an ordinary horse -lifting case in the 
West of U.S.A. The victim was 
accused of stealing four horses from 
one point and four feeds of corn from 
another for the said four horses. 
c I acknowledge the corn,' said the 
sufferer but legend says he was 
lynched in spite of the admission. 

Acting Ladies (Theatrical, 1883). 
Indifferent artistes. Mrs Langtry, 
moving in society, having (1882) 
appeared as an actress in London, 
and in the same year gone to America, 
where she made vast sums of money, 
many ladies of more education than 
dramatic ability turned their attention 
to the stage. Eleven out of a dozen 
totally failed, and few ' twelfths ' kept 
before the public : hence an ' acting 
lady' soon came, amongst theatrical 
people, to represent an incapable 
actress: e.g., 'She isn't a comedian, 
you know, she's an acting lady.' 

Acting ladies, in my opinion, should 
be severely left alone. There is no 
pleasing them or their friends. 
Entr'acte, February 1883. 

Actor's Bible (Theatrical). The 
Era. This phrase was one of the first 
directed against sacred matters, about 
the time when Essays and Reviews was 
much discussed (1860-70). 

Mr Sydney Grundy, whose sensitive- 
ness sometimes outruns his discretion, 
issued a challenge to Mr Clement Scott 
in ' the Actor's Bible '.Ref. 1883. 

There was a motion in the Court of 
Chancery on Friday, before Mr Justice 
Chitty, to commit the proprietor of the 
'Actor's Bible' for contempt of Court 
for allowing certain remarks about ' un- 
principled imitators' of Miss Genevieve 
Ward to appear in print. Cutting. 

Adam and Eve's togs (Peoples'). 
Nakedness. (See Birth-day suit.) 

Adam's Ale (Peoples'). Water- 
probably from the time of the Stuart 
Puritans. If so, it forms a good 
example of national history in a word 
or phrase. 

Ad's my Life (Peoples'; 18 cent.). 
An 18 cent, form of ' God's my life '. 
(See Odd's life.) 

Ad's Bud (18 cent.). God's Bud, 
i.e., Christ. Common in H. Fielding. 

Advertisement Conveyancers (Soc. , 
1883). Street Advertisement Board 
Carriers. (See Sandwich Men.) 
Brought in by W. E. Gladstone (2nd 
May 1883), during his speech at the 


Agony in Red 

inauguration dinner of the National 
Liberal Club in these words : 

These fellow-citizens of ours have it 
for their lot that the manly and interest- 
ing proportions of the human form are 
in their case disguised both before and 
after by certain oblong formations which 
appear to have no higher purpose than 
what is called conveying an advertise- 
ment. Newsp. Cutting. 

Society accepted the phrase and the 
Premier's enemies shot many a shaft 
anent it. 

^Egis (Latin). A shield, hence pro- 
tection, patronage, from Minerva's 
habit of putting her invisible shield 
in front of her favourites when in 

Madam Adelina Patti appeared yester- 
day afternoon under the aegis of Messrs 
Harrison, and once more gathered a 
great audience round her. D. T., 4th 
June 1897. 

^Estheticism (Soc., 1865 - 1890). 
Ideal social ethics, represented out- 
wardly by emblems, chiefly floral, the 
more significant flowers being the 
white lily and the sunflower. 

The women wore their dresses chiefly 
in neutral tints, and especially in three 
series, viz. : greens, dead leaf (the 
yellows, or yellowish, of the series) ; 
olive (the middle path of colour) ; and 
sage (the blues of the series). In each 
of these series there were scores of 
tints. The pomegranate was also a 
fetish. (See Grego. ) 

The joke of sestheticism and sunflowers 
had been smiled at and had died once 
or twice between 1865 and 1878 before it 
was familiar enough to the public for 
dramatic purposes. D. N. t 27th January 

Affigraphy (Coster). To a T, 
exactly. A corruption of autograph 
the vulgar regarding a signature as 
of world-wide importance and gravity. 
(See Sivvy.) 

Afters (Devon). Sweets pies and 
puddings. ' Bring in the afters ' is 
a common satirical remark in poor 
Devonshire houses, especially when 
there are no ' afters ' to follow. Also 
used in Scotland, e.g., 'Hey mon, a 
dinner, an' nae afters ! ' 

Afternoon Calls (Soc., 19 cent.). 
Referring to exclusive society, who 
have never accepted the afternoon 
'drums' and five o'clock teas, but 
adhered to the more formal 15 -minute 
afternoon visit. 

You had not observed that sort of 
thing before marriage? Never. What 
I saw of her was at afternoon calls. 
Lord Gerard's evidence in Lord Durham's 
Nullity of Marriage suit, March 1885. 

Afternoonified (Soc.). Smart. 

What may prove a popular new adjec- 
tive made its first appearance last week. 
A lady entered a fashionable drapery 
store. The lady found nothing to please 
her. The shopwalker then was called. 
This individual, with a plausible tale or 
compliment, will invariably effect a sale 
after all other means have failed. In 
reply to his question whether the goods 
were not suitable, the fastidious customer 
answered : ' No, thank you ; they are 
not "afternoonified" enough for me.' 
In the case of a lady armed with an 
argument of such calibre what was the 
shopwalker to say or do? Like a wise 
man, he expressed his regret and beat 
a dignified retreat. The lady did the 
same, but the adjective remained. 
D. T., July 1897. 

* After you with the push' (Peoples'). 
Said, with satirical mock politeness, 
in the streets to any one who has 
roughly made his way past the speaker, 
and 'smudged' him. 

Aggeravators, Hagrerwaiters 
(Costermongers). Side-curls still worn 
by a few conservative costennongers. 
Of two kinds the ring, or ringlet (the 
more ancient), and the twist, dubbed, 
doubtless in the first place by satirists, 
'Newgate Knockers'. Indeed the 
model of this embellishment might 
have been the knocker of the door of 
the house of the governor of that gaol. 
The aggravation may mean that these 
adornments excite envy in those who 
cannot grow these splendours, or that 
they aggravate or increase the admira- 
tion of the fair sex. The younger 
costers wear rival forehead tufts such 
as the Quiff, the Guiver, or the Flop. 
There is, however, one golden rule for 
these fashions the hair must stop 
short of the eyelids. 

Agony in Red (Soc.). Vermilion 
costume. When the aesthetic craze 
was desperately 'on' (1879-81), terms 
used in music were applied to paint- 
ing, as a 'nocturne in silver-grey,' a 
'symphony in amber,' a 'fugue in 
purple,' an 'andante in shaded violet'. 
Hence it was an easy transition to 
apply terms of human emotions to 

There are many terrible tints even now 
to be found among the repertory of the 

Agreeable Rattle 

Alhambra War Whoop 

leaders of fashion agonies in red, livid 
horrors in green, ghastly lilacs, and 
monstrous mauves. Newsp. Cutting. 

Agreeable Rattle (Soc., ab. 1840). 
A chattering young man. The genus 
has long since disappeared. The A. R. 
went out with the great Exhibition of 

Roderick Doo appeared to be what the 
ladies call an agreeable rattle. Albert 
Smith,' Mr Ledbury (1842). 

Ah, dear me ! (Soc., 18 and 19 cents.). 
An ejaculation of sorrow, perhaps from 
' Ah, Dieu mais ! ' which in its turn 
came from Ay de mi (q.v.). Probably 
introduced by Catherine of Braganza 
or one of her French contemporaries at 
Whitehall ('Ah, dear me, but it's a 
wicked world'). 

Ah, que je can be bete ! (Half -Soc. , 
1899). A new macaronic saying 
French and English. Amongst the 
lower classes another ran ' Twiggy - 
vous the chose ? ' 

'Aipenny Bumper (London Streets). 
A two-farthing omnibus ride, descrip- 
tive of the vehicles in question which 
were not generally great works in 
carriage - building, until the London 
County Council started (1899) a line of 
d. 'busses between Waterloo Station 
and Westminster along the Strand. 
The L.C.C. 'busses were as good as 
any others, and better than most. 

Air-hole (Soc., 1885-95). A small 
public garden, generally a dismally 
converted graveyard, with the ancient 
gravestones set up at ' attention ' against 
the boundary walls. 

For some years past the churchyard 
has been disused, and the Metropolitan 
Public Gardens Association, with a keen 
eye for what it not inaptly terms 'air- 
holes,' has been making strenuous efforts 
to secure it as an ornamental space. 
D. T., 1st June 1895. 

Air-man-chair (Music-hall trans- 
position). Chairman effected by 
taking the 'ch' from the beginning 
and adding it, with 'air', to the 
termination. Very confusing and once 
equally popular, e.g., 'The air-man- 
chair is got up no end to-night,' i.e., is 
well dressed. The chairman has now 
been abolished in music-halls. He 
was supposed to keep order and lead 
choruses. The modern public now do 
these things for themselves. 

Albany Beef (Amer.). Unattrac- 
tive viands. 
The New York Herald concludes by 

observing that 'ioukka', which it calls 
'really the national soup of Russia', to 
'one of simple tastes, must resemble 
Hudson River sturgeon, otherwise known 
as Albany beef, struck by Jersey 
lightning '.G. A. Sala, in D. T., 
30th June 1883. 

Albertine (Soc. , 1860-80). An adroit, 
calculating, business - like mistress ; 
from the character of that name in 
Le Pere Prodigue (A. Dumas fils). She 
is in his play an economical housewife, 
but looks to her own ledger with 
remorseless accuracy. The word is 
used and understood in England only 
by persons of high rank. In France 
it is used by all classes as a term of 
reproach, addressed even to a wife for 
any display of niggardliness. (Sec 
Nana, Oheri.) 

Alderman hung 1 in Chains (City). 
A fat turkey decked with garlands of 
sausages. From the appearance of 
the City fathers, generally portly 
becoming more so when carrying their 
chains of office over their powerful 

Alderman (Peoples'). Half a dollar 
= half a crown, which by the way is 
fivepence more than the American 
' half. Its origin beyond the reach of 
discovery ; it is probably derived from 
some remote alderman who when on 
the bench habitually ladled out this 
coin to applicants for relief. 

Alexandra Limp (Soc., ab. 1872). 
An affected manner of walking seen for 
several years amongst women. Said to 
have been imitated from the temporary 
mode in which the then Princess of 
Wales walked after some trouble with 
a knee. (See Buxton Limp, Grecian 
Bend, Roman Fall.) 

Alhambra War Whoop (Theatrico- 
political,l87Q). The 'historical' defiance 
cast at each other by the Germans and 
French in London during the Franco- 
German war. Speaking of the destruc- 
tion of the theatre by fire (Dec. 1882) 
G. A. Sala wrote at the time in The 
Illus. London News : 

Do you remember the ' War Whoop at 
the Alhambra'? That was during the 
Franco-German war in 1870 in the late 
Mr Sawyer's time, and just after the 
refusal of the dancing licence to the 
place. The enterprising lessee, not to 
be baffled by the unkind action of the 
Areopagus of Clerkenwell Green, deter- 
mined to 'take it out' in international 
noise ; so every evening towards the close 


All of a Piece 

of the performance he organised one 
band which played the 'Marseillaise', 
the strains of which were immediately 
followed by the enlivening notes of the 
German ' Wacht am Rhein '. Then 
ensued the Alhambresque ' War Whoop '. 
The Frenchmen in the house cheered 
their own melody to the echo, and 
groaned, whistled, and yelled at the 
Teutonic air. The Germans, on their 
side, received the ' Wacht am Rhein ' 
with clamorous exultation, and hooted 
and bellowed at the ' Marseillaise '. The 
English portion of the audience im- 
partially screamed and howled. The 
appalling charivari nightly drew crowds 
to the Alhambra ; but the excitement 
did not last long. 

All (L. Peoples'}. Perfect, extreme, 
complete, absolute the sum of street 
gentlemen's admiration, e.g., 'She's 
all there,' 'All a lark,' 'All on,' 'All 
a neat bit.' 

'It's all bosh.' All is a big word. 
Does he refer to the meeting, the Royal 
Exchange, the speeches, the speakers, or 
the existence of unemployed thousands ? 
His favourite word comes in again in the 
supplementary remark : ' It's all a game.' 
My friend says he is a French polisher, 
and he smells like one. He further 
informs me that he belongs to some 
mysterious commonwealth, that he is 
a teetotaler, a vegetarian, a non-smoker. 
When I hint to him emphasizing his 
own term that he is all too good for me, 
he cheerily comforts me with ' Not a bit 
of it ; it's all right '. This is as it should 
be all bosh, all a game, all right. 
I). N., 5th February 1885. (See Neat.) 

All his buttons on (C. L., 1880 on). 
Sharp, alive, active, not to be deceived. 
He is eighty-three years of age, but as 
we say hereabouts, has all his buttons on 
(laughter), and he says, ' I never heard of 
greater nonsense in all my life. Here I 
am, W. G. of the "Blue Boar", who, if 
the Duke of So-and-So gives me notice in 
September to quit next Lady Day, have 
to leave my licence behind me without 
any compensation.' Sir W. Harcourt, 
Speech in Bermondsey, 20th May 1890. 

All a-cock (Peoples'}. Overthrown, 
vanquished. It may be a version of 
knocked into a cocked hat, (q.v.), or, 
more probably it is derived from cock- 
fighting ; e. g. , ' He's all a kick, ' meaning 
a dying bird, from the motion of the 
legs during the agony of death. This 
would pass into ' cock ' readily, seeing 
that the conquering bird was always 
called ' a game ' one ; or ' he just only 
tripped me, an' I was all a-cock in a 
one-two '. 

All a treat (Street). Perfection of 
enjoyment, sometimes used satirically 
to depict mild catastrophe. 

All-fired (Amer.). A euphemism 
for hell-fired, used as a general 
intensive, e.g., 'I was in an all-fired 

All it is worth (Amer.). To the 
fullest extent, as fully as possible. 

Scalchi, to use a side-walk phrase, 
played Siebel for all the character was 
worth, and was evidently the favourite. 
N. Y. Mercury, 1883. 

All my eye and Betty Martin 
(Peoples' 1 }. An expression of disbelief, 
evasive declaration that the person 
addressed is a liar. Perhaps the 
finest example extant of colloquial 
exclamations reaching to-day from 
pre-Reformation times. St Martin 
was, and is, the patron saint of 
beggars. The prayer to St Martin 
opens, '0, mini, beate Martine.' 

This phrase was used by English 
mendicants (and is still used by South- 
Italian beggars) when asking for alms. 
When indiscriminate charity 'went 
out' in England at the date of the 
Reformation, this phrase fell into 
bad repute as representing a lazy and 
lying class. It is still used by the 
commoner classes as an expression of 
doubt, though it has been very widely 
superseded by 'humbug' (q.v.). 

All my own (London Apprentices, 
19 cent.). Freedom, 'mastership. Its 
use is disappearing with the tendency 
to abolish apprenticeship. 

I'm quite in the world alone 
And I'll marry you 
If you'll be true, 

The day I'm all my own. (1896). 
All my eye and my elbow (London, 
1882). Fictional : appears to be a 
flight of genius starting from 'all 
my eye and Betty Martin', got into 
form, not because Betty Martin had 
become vulgar, but possibly because 
her vague identity led to conventional 
divergencies. There is a smart aspect 
about this term, for, while eye and 
elbow offered a weak alliteration, there 
is some sort of association and agree- 
ment in the action of these personal 
belongings, for one can wink with the 
eye and nudge with the elbow at once. 
All of a piece (Peoples'). Awkward, 
without proper distribution or relation 
of parts, e.g., 'He lounged in all of 
a piece.' 'Have you seen his new 
Venus ? Awful all of a piece.' 

All over Grumble 

Ally Sloper 

All over grumble (Peoples'). 

In some of the things that have been 
seen here it has been a case of all over 
grumble, but Thursday's show was all 
over approval. Re/., 28th March 1886. 

All over red (Railway, to public, 1840 
on). Dangerous, to be avoided. From 
red being the colour signal of danger 
throughout the railway world. The 
phrase has been accepted by the public 
at large. (See Be Green, White Light, 
Paint the Town Red.) 

All poppy cock (Amer.). Mere 
brag, nonsense. Perhaps a figure of 
speech drawn from the natural history 
of the field-poppy, which looks very 
braw, military, cockish, and flaunting, 
but which tumbles to pieces if touched, 
or droops and faints almost directly it 
is gathered. 

All right up to now (Street}. 
Smiling, serene. Derived from enceinte 
women making the remark as to their 
condition. Used by Herbert Campbell 
as a catch-phrase in Covent Garden 
Theatre Pantomime, 1878. 

All-round muddle (Stock Exchange, 
1870). Complete entanglement. 

Her ' bondage ' is not of lengthened 
duration, inasmuch as the husband, 
finding himself in an all-round muddle, 
shoots himself dead. Cutting. 

When reporters get hold of a new 
phrase they are liable to work it to 
death. At present they are grinding 
away at ' all-round '. They tell about 
the all-round fighter, the all-round base- 
ball player, the all-round reporter, the 
all-round thief, and the all-round actor. 
One reporter said the other day that 
whisky was the best all-round mischief- 
maker there was in the world, and he 
probably hasn't been all-round either. 
Cutting, 1888. 

All very fine and large (Lond., 
1886). Satirical applause ; from the 
refrain of a song sung by Mr Herbert 

How many people passed the turnstiles 
at the Alexandra Palace I am not in a 
position to say, but that the attendance 
was all very fine and large is beyond 
dispute. Ref., 7th August 1887. 

Alley (Peoples'). A go-between. 
Evidently from ' aller ', to go. 

Mrs Cox was an alley for her. 
Bravo Coroner's Inquest. 

Alice samee (Pidgeon English). All 
the same. Used by Chinese cheap 
abourers when detected in trying to 

cheat. 'Washy money allee samee,' 
applied by Anglo -Asiatics in a satirical 
spirit where things are not quite 
satisfactory. ' It appeared that they 
were not quite married, but that they 
lived together allee samee.' N. Y. 
Mercury, February 1883. 

Alligators (Amer.). People of 
Florida, so named from the alligators 
there ; used also because the Floridans 
are supposed to be as greedy as these 
reptiles. Of course, an invention of 
some other State or States. 

'Will you kindly tell me which way 
the wind blows ? ' asked a Northern 
invalid of the landlord of a Florida 
hotel. 'Certainly, sir,' replied the 
landlord, stepping to the door ; ' the 
wind now blows due north, sir.' ' Thank 
you.' A little later the landlord said to 
the bookkeeper : ' Have you made out 
Mr Smith's bill yet ? ' ' No, sir.' ' Well, 
just charge one dollar to his account 
for information about the direction of 
the wind.' 

Alls (Public-House). Waste pot at 
public-houses. On all public-house 
pewter counters may be seen holes, 
down which go spillings of everything. 
Popular mistrust runs to the belief 
that these collections are used up 
hence the comment upon bad beer. 
'This must be alls.' As a fact, the 
brewer allows a barrel of good beer for 
every barrel of alls forwarded to the 
brewery. What does the brewer do 
with it? This is indeed wanting to 
know, at the end of the book, what 
became of the executioner ? Pro- 
bability is in favour of the sewer- 

Allsopp (Peoples'). Short for 
Allsopp's Pale Ale. 

Ally Luja lass (Lond. Street, 1886 
on). Hallelujah lass was the name 
given to the girl contingent of the 
Salvation Army, when the movement 
rose into importance in London, and 
General Booth made an effort to 
purchase all the theatres, succeeding, 
however, only in one case, that of the 
Grecian Theatre, City Road. 

She sed thay wur Ally Luja's lasses. 
'Ally Luja's asses,' I sed; 'thay wants 
kikkin.' Comic Report of a Salvation 
Meeting (1870). 

Ally Sloper (Street, 1870 on). A 
dissipated -looking old man with a red 
and swollen nose. Invented by Mr 
Charles Ross, who ran him in print 
for a score of years. 

Almighty Dollar 


Almighty dollar (Amer.). This 
expression, a derisive synonym for 
money os Mammon, originated with 
Washington Irving. It is found in his 
Creole Village, and reads thus : 

'The Almighty Dollar, that great 
object of urdversal devotion throughout 
our land, seems to have no genuine 
devotees in these peculiar villages.' 

Alphonse 'Soc., 1870 on). A man 
of position who accepts money from a 
married woman or women richer, and 
probably older, than himself, as recom- 
pense for remaking her or their lover. 
Quite understood in Paris not known 
out of society ii London. From the 
play Monsieur Alphonse (Alexandre 
Dumas, fils). 

There was yesterday evening and up 
to the small hours of the morning a 
serious riot in the Latin Quarter, caused 
by the students who continue from time 
to time to make violent demonstrations 
against those professional allies of 
certain women men who bear the name 
of ' Alphonse ' a sobriquet invented by 
Alexandre Dumas, one which has passed 
into the language. Nwcsp. Cutting. 

Altogether (Soc., 1894). The nude 
in art. From Du Mauri er's Trilby, 
who is an artist's model. ' I sit for 
the altogether.' 

The New York Mercury, 27th 
September 1895, has this heading: 
Will the next fad be photographs of 
modern woman taken in the ' altogether' ? 
Society women now have their busts 
done in marble, their hands and arms in 
bronze, and their legs photographed. 

In The Demagogue and Lady Phayre, 
the labour leader appears as a figure 
of rude nobility. The proportions are 
not heroic ; they are simply life-size. 
In the altogether they make up an 
individuality rich, massive, and imposing. 
Weekly Sun, 29th December 1895. 
They wore little underclothing scarcely 
anything or no thing 

And their dress of Coan silk was quite 

transparent in design 
Well, in fact, in summer weather, some- 
thing like the ' altogether ', 

And it's there I rather fancy, I shall 
have to draw the line ! 
Mr W. S. Gilbert's 'The Grand 
Duke', March 1896. 

There was no earthly necessity why 
the Hotel du Libre Echange should be 
an improper play, except that the 
modern French audience revels in 
impropriety. They like it, they wallow 
in it, and they destroy their native 
ingenuity in construction and invention 

with what we may call ' the cult of the 
altogether^. D. T., 30th April 1896. 

Altogether^ (Soc.). Drunk from 
the tendency of a drunken man to 
lounge himself. Byron uses the term 
in a letter of 1816. 

Amen Corner (California/a). A 

Sunday found them, judge and 
lawyers, seated in the ' amen corner '. 
All the Year Round, 31st October 1868. 

A' mighty (Amer.). One of the 
first evasions of an oath - like 
word. It is, of course, a corruption 
of ' almighty '. 

As you know, young fellur, them goats 
is a'mighty kewrous anymal as kewrous 
as weemen is. 

Ammedown Shop (Poor). Corrup- 
tion of Hand-me-down Shop. A good 
example of a phrase getting bastardized 
into one meaningless word. ' George, 
my dear, ammedown my gal's Turkey- 
red frock.' 

Amok. See Run a-muck. 

Anatomy (Peoples', formerly 
Literary). A thin needy boy, or old 
withered soul. In common English ; it 
has been reduced to natermy, e.g., 
1 He were a perfick 'nattermy.' 

A boy of twelve stood leaning against 
a fence on Duffield Street, hat pulled 
down, feet crossed, and his right hand 
going up occasionally to wipe his nose, 
when along came another anatomy about 
his size. Detroit Free Press. 

Ancient Mariners (Cambridge 
Univ.). Graduates still associated 
with the University who continue to 

At Cambridge Fawcett rowed stroke 
(the necessary position of a blind man) in 
the crew of ' Ancient Mariners ', as the 
older members of the University who 
still ply the oar are called. D. N., 7th 
November 1884. 

Androgynaikal (Art.). Appertain- 
ing to the nude figure, and to the 
anatomy of both sexes. 

Simeon Solomon's notion of the classic 
ideal in his picture called ' Sacramentum 
amoris', a small figure, as nude as may 
be, girt with a skin of a panther and 
a light blue sash, and background of 
yellow drapery, but of that peculiar 
type of form to which the term ' andro- 
gunaikal ' is applied in art, and holding 
a long thyrsus. Newsp. Cutting. 

Angel (N. London Street). A woman 
of the town fringing the Angel at 
Islington, e.g., 'What are you doing 


Apostle of Culture 

here ? you ain't a Angel you're only a 
Sinker' (i.e., St Luker, from the Parish 
of St Luke, in the City Road, which is 
considered at the Angel as socially 
below Islington, as it is comparatively 
depressed in its physical want of 
elevation in comparison with the Angel, 
which is quite at the top of the hill). 

Angel-makers (Peop., 1889 on). 
Baby-farmers ; because so many of the 
farmed babies die. Probably from the 
French ' Faiseuses des anges '. 

' ANGEL - MAKING '. Another case of 
baby-farming, or ' angel-making', as it is 
called in Austria, has just been dis- 
covered by the Lemberg police, who 
have arrested three women on the charge 
of systematically starving to death infants 
committed to their care. Newsp. Cutting, 
December 1892. 

They are not only under a cloud owing 
to the deaths of Miss Thompson and 
Mademoiselle Madet, but every day a 
fresh charge is laid at their doors, and 
some people have even gone so far as 
to describe them as members of a band 
of what Parisians call 'angel-makers'. 
D. T., 7th December 1896. 

Angels on Horseback (Virginia). 
Fricasseed oysters meaning exquisite. 
Origin not known. 

Anglican Inch (Church, 1870 on). 
Description given by the ritualistic 
clergy of the short square whisker 
which is so much affected by the 
Broad Church party. The Hits (q.v.) 
call themselves the * Church of England ', 
the generally accepted Broad Church, 
or Taits as they were called in Arch- 
bishop Tait's time, are 'Anglicans' 
hence the 'inch'. (See St Alban's 
Clean Sweep.) 

Anguagela (Transposed) Language. 
A good example of the confusion 
produced by transposing and repeating 
a syllable or letter ; e.g., 

How the Lord Chamberlain's people 
pass this stuff goodness only knows. 
Perhaps they don't understand the 
French anguagela. 

Animal (L. 0. and D. Railway 
Passengers, 1860). Synonym for the 
1 Elephant and Castle ' station. ' Third- 
class Animal ' is, or was, quite under- 
stood by the railway booking-clerks of 
the district. 

Animal (Tavern). A disguised, or 
flippant, reference amongst boon com- 
panions to the tavern, used in common 
when the sign is zoological, such 
as the Bull, Bear, Lion, Dragon 


but more especially referring to the 
Elephant and Castle (S. London) ; 
until (1882) this place was exception- 
ally dubbed 'Jumbo' (q.v.). 

Anno Domini, B.C. {Soc., 1890 
on). Relating to unknown longevity. 
'He must be very anno domini, 
mustn't he ? ' ' A.D. ? my dear fellow, 
say B.C.' 

Anonyma (Soc., 186>). A name 
given to women of gaZlantry in an 
article in the Times commenting on a 
well-known Phryne of chat day. The 
word lasted many years and came to 
be synonymous with a gay woman. 

She could kick highsr in the can-can 
than any anony ma there. N. Y. Mercury, 

Anti-queer-uns (Soc., 18 cent.). A 
perversion of 'antiquarians', due to 

So many interesting associations 
cluster around the remains of the old 
nunnery at Godstow, a mile or two out 
of Oxford, that it is rather surprising 
so little attention has been bestowed on 
the ruin. Perhaps it may be difficult 
even for ' Anti-queer-uns ', as Foote calls 
them, to get up much enthusiasm over 
nameless graves, D. AT., 3rd February 

Anti-Tox (Amer. , reaching England 
1885). A drug to sober a drunken 
person. Tox is, of course, the 
abbreviation of intoxication. 

A reporter noticed the singular fact 
that nearly every one who went into a 
leading saloon was under the influence 
of some powerful stimulant, and nearly 
every one who came out was painfully 
sober. Then he determined to go in and 
see about it. 'Have a dose of Anti- 
Tox?' asked the barkeeper, recognising 
the reporter. 'It's the greatest thing 
on earth ; you come to me rocking from 
one side of the saloon to the other and 
reeking with the fumes of the vilest 
whisky, and I will make a new man of 
you while you are getting out a twenty- 
cent piece.' Minneapolis Oaz., 1885. 

'Apenny-lot day (Costers'). A bad 
time for business really, when every- 
thing has to be sold cheap. 

Apostle of culture (Soc., 1880). 
An individual who sets up as a perfect 
judge of taste. Probably started by 
Sir Francis Burn and in Punch. 

Our self -elected apostle of culture has 
told us that it is as ridiculous to say that 
such and such a colour is the fashion as 
it would be to assert that B flat was the 
fashionable key. D. N., 13th January 

Apostles of Murder 


Apostles of murder (Pol it., 1867 
on). A name given generally to 
political agitators who included 
assassination in their programme. 

To say nothing of dynamite, and of 
that horrible compound found at Liver- 
pool which presents the innocent appear- 
ance of sawdust but of which every grain 
is an explosive agency, the apostles of 
murder are reported to have employed 
methods of offence even more diabolical. 
D. N., 6th April 1883. 

Apple-jack (Amer. ). Spirit distilled 
from cider or from the pulp of apples 
already pressed for cider. (See Sweet 
Waters. ) ' Jack ' is a common term 
for spirits in U.S.A. In Normandy 
this liquor is calvados. 

'A grindstun can,' remarked a 
weazened farmer, who had just called 
for some apple-jack. Newsp. Cutting, 

Apples (Corruption of Rhyming 
Slang}. Stairs, as thus : ' Apples and 
pears stairs.' 'Bill an' Jack's gone 
up apples.' 

'Apples and pears in no birdlime 
time.' (Rhyming Street, 1882). 

An obscure mode of describing sudden 
ejection from a house; e.g., 

The flunkeys had me down stairs 
(apples and pears) in no time (birdlime). 

'Appy dosser (Low Life, 19 cent.). 
A satirical description of a homeless 
creature, so wretched as not to have 
the few halfpence necessary to pay for 
a ' doss ', or bed in a common lodging- 

Elizabeth, poor storm-tossed bit of one 
of the myriad wrecks that strew the 
ocean of life, homeless and starving, 
dying of an agonizing ailment, was, 
having neither money nor friends, what 
is professionally known as a "appy 
dosser '. That is to say, she would crawl 
at night into the open passages of a low 
lodging-house, and fall down where she 
could in the yard or the passage and 
sleep. Ref., February 1882. 

Archer up (London, 1881). Safe to 
win. Formerly a popular phrase of 
congratulation. A man was seen 
running for and catching a 'bus : 
'Archer up,' shouted the on-lookers. 
A man appeared in new clothes : 
' Archer up ! ' Another threatened to 
knock another down : ' Archer up ! ' 
here used probably satirically. The 
phrase took its rise from a celebrated 
jockey who suddenly sprang to the 
front in 1881, and carried everything 


before him. It is short for 'Archer 
is up in the saddle'. He rode with 
an absolute recklessness which may 
account for his end, for he shot 
himself. At once the phrase passed 
away utterly, and was heard no more. 
Arctics (Amer.). Winter clothing, 
which in the earlier settled States is 
decidedly built on a vast scale. 

I hate a hotel where you have to get 
up at 4.15 A.M., dress in a cold room, 
and walk down to the station because 
the 'bus doesn't go to that train, and 
about half-way down you discover that 
you left your arctics in the office. Newsp. 

Ardent (Soc., 1870). A shortened 
form of 'ardent spirits'. From the 
Mexican aqua ardente, through 

After this we all felt in such good 
humour that the bottle passed freely, 
and I fear that more than one of our 
number swallowed a little too much of 
the ardent. Newsp. Cutting, 1878. 

Arer (Peoples'). More so. From 
' are ', emphatically used. ' We are, 
and what's more, we can't be any arer.' 
'Arf-a-mo' (Peoples', 1890 on). 
Abbreviation of ' half a moment ', 
cf., 'half a sec.' and 'half a tick' (of 
a watch). 
I'll bet you never noticed all the things 

that you can do 
In half a mo' half a mo', 
So cock your ears and listen and I'll 

mention one or two, 
In half a mo' half a mo'. 
Tho' you're as sane as Satan you can go 

clean off your dot, 
And then start backing gee-gees on a 

system very hot ; 
Have five-and-twenty thousand quids and 

lose the blessed lot 
In half a mo' half a mo'. 
Chorus : In half a mo' half a mo' 

Your pluck and perseverance 

you can show, 

You can go with other people 
Down a sewer, climb a steeple, 
Fall an' break your blooming 
neck in half a mo'. 


Arf-an-arf (London Public-house, 
19 cent.). Half-and-half. A mixture 
half of black beer (porter) and half 
ale. (See Cooper.) 

Arfarfan'arf (Peoples'). A figure 
of speech, meaning 'drunk', the sub- 
stitution of cause for effect, the 
intoxication being the latter, ' arfarf- 
anarf the former. It may be thug 



explained, arf ' = half pint of; arfanarf 
= half and half- half ale and half 
beer = half and half. This liquor is 
fourpence the quart, therefore, the 
mystic refreshment is called for as 
<arf o' four d arfanarf, the 'd' being 
used to express pence = denarii. Is 
used to describe drunken men, e.g., 
' 'E's very arfarfanarf ' really meaning 
that he has had many ' arfs '. 

Argol-bargol. To have a row. 
May be argue turned into argol, from 
the old term 'argil' (see the Grave- 
digger in Hamlet), corrupted from 
' ergo '. The ' bargol ' is a rhymed 
invention following a common habit. 
The whole term, however, is pervaded 
apparently by depreciation: 'Well 
well d'yer want ter argol-bargol ? ' 
Aristocratic veins (Theatrical). 
Blue lines of colour usually frescoed 
on the temples, and sometimes on the 
backs of the hands and wrists. Sup- 
posed to be a mark of high and noble 
birth. Sometimes adopted by women 
in society. ' Pass me the smalt, girl 
I want to put in my veins.' (See 
Mind the Paint.) 

Arkansas tooth-pick (Amer.). A 
bowie-knife. Arkansas is notorious 
for sudden blood-letting. 

And he jabbed an eighteen Arkansas 
tooth-pick into whoever it happened to 
be. Mark Twain. 

He had a seductive way of drawing 
his 18-inch Arkansas tooth-pick, and 
examining it critically with a sinister 
smile, while humbly requesting the 
temporary loan of five dollars. Texas 

'Arrydom (Soc., 1885). The 
kingdom and rule of 'Any, the typical 
London cad. 

It seems a pity that the Whitehall 
Review did not confine itself to saying, 
in the speech of 'Arrydom, 'You're 
another,' instead of appealing to a 
special jury. Sat. Rev., 26th March 

'Arry's Worrier (Peoples', 1885 on). 
The deadly and bronchitical concertina 
common to 'Arry's hand, and as deadly 
as his fist or his ' Hinglish '. 

If our readers are inclined to be 
curious, they may, on further investiga- 
tion, discover the player of "Arry's' 
favourite ' worrier ' in the form of a 
patient-looking little lady, who sits on 
the stonework of the railings which 
guard the select piece of grass and trees. 
People, 19th February 1897. 

'Arrico Veins (Common people, 19 
cent.). Varicose veins. 

' Bless yer, 'arrico veins don't kill. I 
know an old lady o' ninety-one, an' she's 
'ad 'era these forty years. Ill-conwenient, 
but they ain't dangerous on'y a leak.' 

Artful Fox (Music-hall, 1882). A 
nonsense rhyme for ' box '. 

You capture the first liker at him in a 
snug artful fox at some chantin ken where 
there's a bona varderin serio comic, and 
Isle of Francer engaged. From Bio- 
graphy of the Staff Bundle Courier, the 
gentleman who accompanies ' serio - 
comics' from music-hall to music-hall 
when ' doing turns '. 

Artistic Merit (Society, 1882). A 
satirical criticism of a flattering 
portrait. A celebrated sculptors' case 
(Belt v. Lawes, 1882) brought this 
term into a general use. Belt com- 
plained that Lawes had said of him 
that he (Belt) had no 'artistic merit,' 
and that all his many busts were 
artistically finished by competent men, 
commonly called ' studio ghosts '. 
Belt and his friends maintained that 
he possessed not only good modelling 
power, which was also denied, but 
finishing power also. For Lawes, the 
then President of the Royal Academy 
(Sir F. Leighton) and many other 
eminent art followers gave evidence 
that Belt had no artistic merit. 
Gradually, during a long trial of over 
forty days, the public grew to com- 
prehend that in sculpture 'artistic 
merit ' might mean the use of flattering 
refinement in finish. Hence arose the 
use of the phrase as an euphemism for 

Sincerity may raise a costume ball 
from the mere pastime of an evening 
to an undertaking involving culture, 
patience, and self-denial, and bring about 
a result not perhaps without 'artistic 
merit'. Newsp. Cutting, February 1885. 

Fancy asking a policeman to decide 
upon the morality or immorality of a 
ballet ! You might as well ask a police- 
man to pass judgment on the decency of 
a statue of Venus, and at the same time 
to criticise its 'artistic merits'. Ref., 
llth February 1883. 

Ashkenazic. German and Polish 

Ash-plant (Military, 1870). Light, 
unvarnished, un peeled, rough-cut ash 
swish, for carrying in the hand. 
Subalterns at Dover first carried these 
swishes, value about Id., the head 

Ask Another 


formed by a knot got at a branching. 
They became very fashionable, and 
soon, owing to their valuelessness, 
very common. Therefore, after a time, 
they were mounted in gold or silver, 
the swish remaining impeded, and in 
no way polished or varnished. 

Bringing his ash-plant down on the 
counter with ten Slade force, he said, 
' If that's the sort of man you are, I'm 
off to take tea with Miss Murnford.' 
And he offed. Bird o' Freedom, 7th 
March 1883. 

Ask another (Street, 1896 on). A 
protest against a reiterated or worn- 
out joke, an expression of boredom ; 
directed at a 'chestnut', e.g., 'I say, 
Joe, when's a door not a door ? ' to 
which Joe disgustedly replies, 'Oh, 
ask another.' 

Aspect (Lond., chiefly Hatton 
Garden district}. A look of eager love. 
Used chiefly in the Italian quarter, 
but spreading. Where there is a 
foreign colony in London, as French 
in Soho, Italian in Clerkenwell Road, 
German in Clerkenwell, the English 
amongst them, to some extent 
fraternizing, adopt any forcible word 
or phrase used by them, as, for 
instance, in the White chapel district 
the Jewish ' selah ' (God be with you, 
or good-bye) has become ' so long ', a 
phrase which has spread all over 
England. Amongst Italians ' aspetto ' 
is a very common word. Used alone 
no doubt it may be translated, * Hold 
on a bit ! ' but it retains its meaning 
' look ', ' aspect ', and it is this trans- 
lation which has been accepted by the 
observant English lower-middle-class 
in the Italian district. A fiery youth 
looking too fiercely into the eyes of a 
gutter donzella, she observes, ' aspetto 
aspetto ! ' Her English sister has 
accepted the word, and under similar 
circumstances cries, ' Not too much 
aspect, Tom ! ' Applied also in other 
ways, e.g., 'Well, Jack, not too much 
aspect, or you might run agin one o' 
my fists ! ' 

Aspinall (Peoples'). Enamel. Also 
as a verb. From Aspinall, the 
inventor and manufacturer of an 
oxidized enamel paint. 

Astarrakan (Street, 1890). A 
jocular mispronunciation of the 
astrachan fur. Used satirically, after 
Mr Gus Elen's (1898) song, the first 
line of the chorus running : 

Astarrakan at the bottom of my coat. 

Atavism (Society, c. 1890-5). The 
antithesis of decadent. The difference 
between these newly meaninged words 
is very marked. The decadent may 
show ability, genius even, but his life 
demonstrates that he is in a general 
way mentally, morally, and physically 
inferior to his forebears; and, as a rule, 
he dies childless, or his children have 
no families. The atavist, on the other 
hand, is a human being who is 
relegated by some hidden natural force 
to a condition assimilating to an early 
form of mankind. He is therefore, as 
a rule, a physical improvement upon 
his immediate or modern forebears, and 
even possibly a mental superior but 
morality from the modern standpoint 
has little or no existence for him. He 
tends to the animal life he takes 
what he wants; society calls him a 
kleptomaniac ; plain people dub him a 
thief, while as a dipsomaniac he again 
imitates the mammal, which, once 
indulged in liquor, becomes a hopeless 
drunkard. An atavist may become a 
decadent ; a decadent never becomes 
an atavist. 

Athletic Drolls (Music-hall, 1860 
on). Comic performers whose songs 
were interspersed with gymnastic feats. 
(See Knockabout Drolls, Singing Drolls.) 

Atlantic Greyhounds (Soc. ). Quick 
Atlantic steamers. 

The booking of passengers desirous of 
securing berths on board one or other of 
the 'Atlantic greyhounds' now plying 
between the Old and New Worlds far 
exceeds the accommodation available for 
their reception. D. T. , 20th May 1895. 

Attorney-General's Devil (Legal). 

He was chosen by Sir John Holker, 
whose practical shrewdness was seldom 
at fault, to succeed the present Lord 
Justice Bowen as junior counsel to the 
Treasury, commonly called ' Attorney- 
General's Devil '.Newsp. Gutting, 1883. 

The working barrister who does the 
heavy work of a K.C. or other legal 
big-wig is generally called a ' devil '. 
But the term is dying out owing to 
increased legal amenities. 

Auctioneer (Peoples'). The fist 
because it ' knocks down '. 

Milo, the boxer, was an accomplished 
man. He did not, however, use the 
sculptor's hammer, but rather the 
'auctioneer ' of the late Mr Thomas 
Savers. D. N. 

Auditorium (Press, 1870). The 
portion of a theatre occupied by the 


Aunt Sally 

Ay de mi 

audience called the theatre until 
Dion Boucicault took ' Astley's ', spoilt 
the ceiling by cutting ventilating holes 
in it, and then wrote a long letter to 
the Times in which he spoke of the 
improvements he had made in 'the 
auditorium'. The word was at once 
accepted with much laughter. Now 
used seriously. 

Some time before the curtain rose 
large crowds of seat-seekers might have 
been observed surging down the tunnels 
that lead to the auditorium of this house 
(Opera Comique, now swept away). 
Jief., 14th June 1885. 

Aunt Sally (Low London). A 
black-faced doll. Early in the century 
the sign of a rag-shop ; afterwards 
adopted as an entrancing cock-shy, a 
pipe either forming the nose or being 
placed between the teeth. From Black 
Sail and Dusty Bob, characters in the 
elder Pierce Egan's Life in London, 
and probably adopted owing to the 
popularity of that work, precisely as 
in a later generation many of Dickens's 
characters were associated with trade 
advertisements. Aunt Sally is vanish- 
ing, even at race-courses. Soon, but 
for a portrait, she will be only a 
memory. Very significant of Pierce 
Egan's popularity, which from 1820 to 
1840 was as great as that of Dickens, 
whose fame threw Egan into obscurity. 

Aunt's sisters (London Middle-class). 
A foolish perversion of ' ancestors '. 

Corrie Koy was once more restored to 
the home of his aunt's sisters. Qomic 

Away (London Thieves' Etiquette). 
A man is never spoken of as ' in prison ', 
though he is there for many a 'stretch*. 
It would evince great want of etiquette 
to mention the detaining locality, e.g., 
'Mine's away, bless 'is 'art,' the grass- 
widow of lower life will say, as indica- 
tive that her husband is in jail. The 
answer should be, ' A 'appy return 'ome 
to 'im, mum.' 

'Awkins (Lower Classes, 1880 on). 
A severe man, one not to be trifled 
with. Name-word from the Judge, 
then Sir Frederic Hawkins, who about 
this time impressed the lower and 
criminal classes as a 'hanging' judge, 
e.g., 'Joe, don't you play around Tom 
Barr Vs a 'Awkins, and no mistake.' 

'Awkins (Mid- London, 1905). A 
princely coster monger. From a music - 


hall song sung by Albert Chevalier, 
with the catch line, ' And 'Enery 
'Awkins is a first-class name'. 

And, indeed, if not in Walworth, 
where should Mr Hawkins be supreme ? 
It is the epical home, so to speak, of his 
race a district traversed by that Old 
Kent-road in which their lyric hero 
' knocked ' the passers-by with the un- 
expected splendours of his attire and 
turn-out. Disestablishment is not under- 
stood to trouble his repose, and the 
downfall of the Welsh Church would 
probably leave him as unmoved as the 
just man in Horace, so long as the 
' Harp ' of the same nationality continues 
to open its hospitable doors to himself 
and Mrs Hawkins on their 'Sundays 
out'. D. T., 14th May 1895. 

Axe to grind (Amer.-Engl.). I.e., 
a personal end to serve, originally a 
favour to ask ; from men in backwoods 
pretending to want to grind their axes 
when in reality they required a drink. 
Mr Ebbs, an American etymologist, 
says that the origin of this phrase has 
been attributed to Benjamin Franklin. 
It is true, many of his sayings in Poor 
Richard bear a striking similarity to 
the saying ; still, not one of them can 
be tortured into the above phrase. 

Every one seems to have had what the 
Americans call ' an axe to grind '. 
Yates, Recollections (1884). 

Finally, Mr Irving stepped forward, 
and in a voice trembling with emotion, 
bade farewell to his American friends. 
He said among other things: 'Now 
that I can speak without fear or favour, 
and without the suspicion that I have an 
axe to grind, I can say for the first time 
how deeply grateful we are for the 
innumerable acts of kindness received 
from the American people.' Newsp. 
Cutting, April 1885. 

Conservatives with axes to grind will 
soon make the word Beaconsh'eld as 
wearisome by mere iteration as the word 
Jubilee. D. N., 7th April 1887. 

Axe-grinders (American}. Men 
who grumble, especially politically. 

Willard's Hotel was closed, and, even 
if it had not been, with its clientele of bar- 
loafers, swaggerers, drunkards, and axe- 
grinders (a class of politicians peculiar to 
Washington hotels), it would not have 
been the place for Mr Dickens in his 
state of health. Dolby, Dickens as I 
knew him, 

Ay de mi, sometimes Ay de my 
(Hist.). It pervades all Western 
European literature. It is found in 


Back Answers 

Tom Cringle's Log, also in Gil Bias, 
bk. xi. 5. 

Ay de my ! un anno felice 

Parece un soplo ligero ; 

Per6 fin dicha un instante 

Es un siglo de tormento. 
Smollett translates the phrase 
'alas'. It was Carlyle's favourite 
protest, and is found frequently in 
Froude's biography of him : 

The dinners, routs, callers, confusions 
inevitable to a certain length. Ay de mi 
I wish I was far from it. 

It was probably brought to England 
by Catherine of Braganza. (See 'Oh 
dear me ! ') 


B's. (Fenian, 1883). Patriotic 
Brotherhood. In questionable taste. 
The members of the Patriotic Brother- 
hood, or Irish Invincibles, thus styled 
themselves. It may have had some 
absurd association with the ' busy bee '. 

Patrick Duffy was sworn, and deposed 
Finnegan and Devlin were at a meet- 
ing of the society held in the spring of 
1881. I knew James Hauratty and 
Patrick Geogeghan, who were both 'B's'. 
Report of the Patriotic Brotherhood 
Conspiracy (Trial at Belfast, 26th March 

B.C. play (Theatrical, 1885). 
Classical drama ; Before Christ. In- 
vented apropos to Claudian (Princess's 

The authors are wise to eschew low 
comedy. There wasn't much of it in the 
time of Pericles. George cannot come in 
and talk about milking his hay and 
mowing his cows as he did in ' Claudian '. 
One of our best low comedians, he is not 
at home in a B.C. period. Ref., 28th 
March 1886. 

B.H. (Peoples', 1880). Bank 

B. K. 's (Military}. Barracks. _ Used 
by officers, non-coms., and privates, 
down to the drummer-boy. (See H. Q.) 

B.P. (Theatrical). British Public. 
(See Pub.) 

' Have you read Leader's manifesto on 
taking possession of Her Majesty's 
Theatre?' 'We have, and feel sure 
there's a good time coming for the 
B.P.' Bird o' Freedom, 1883. 

Harvey writes and arranges, not to 

please me, who don't pay, but the 
B.P., who do. Ref., 9th August 1 

' My dear Wilfred, They tell me you 
are in a wax about the exceptions I took 
to your article. I am extremely sorry to 
touch any line of yours, but B.P. must 
be considered, you know ! ' Ouida, An 
Altruist, 1896. 

B. and P. (Land.). Initials of two 
young men whose public proceedings 
resulted, about 1870, in a long police- 
court inquiry and trial. (See Beanpea. ) 

B Flat (Peoples'). Proof of advance 
of education, being a sort of pun lying 
between si bemol or B flat, and an 
intimate insect (now rapidly being 
evicted by a survival of the fittest), 
which has been too fatally associated 
with the family of Norfolk Howard 

Baby (Tavern, 1875). The con- 
viction amongst men given to creature- 
comforts that the cheapest soda and 
spirits refresher rose to sixpence at least, 
led the serated water manufacturers to 
invent the half-bottle (2d. ), which from 
its small size was dubbed ' baby ' by all 
men. ' Give me a baby lemonade ' 
was understood by all barmaids, who 
never blushed. The term has lapsed. 

Baby and Nurse (Tavern, 1876). 
A small bottle of soda-water and two- 
penny-worth of spirit in it. This is 
the nurse. Accepted terms even by 
queens of the taps and handles. Where 
more than ' two ' of spirits is required 
numerals come by their own again. 
The phrase has lapsed. 

Baby's public-house (Peoples'). 
Nature's fount. 

Among them is a six-year-old baby 
that is suckled at the breast when it asks 
for baby's public-house, and that fills up 
the intervals between refreshment by 
smoking cigarettes. Fact ! Ref., 5th 
October 1884. 

Bab'sky (Liverpool). Corruption of 
Bay o' Biscay. 

The place where the arch was erected 
is about the most exposed part of the 
town when the wind is high, and in 
consequence is generally styled the 
< Bab'sky '.Newsp. Cutting, May 1886. 

Back answers (C. Eng., 19 cent.). 
Sharp retorts, quick-tongued replies, 
dorsal eructations, without any conces- 
sion to the laws of etiquette. 

He went to the station and gave no 
' cheek ' or ' back-answers ' to any one. 

Back down 

Bad Egg 

Back down (American). To yield. 

If we may we indicate an apologetic 
foreign policy by remarking that the 
Government ' backs down '. 

That is to say, ' makes a back ', as 
boys at leap-frog, to enable the other 
players to get over. 

Back-hairing (Street}. Feminine 
fighting, in which the occipital locks 
suffer severely. 

His Honour said no doubt there had 
been a great deal of provocation, but the 
rule was when a woman had her back 
hair pulled down and her face scratched, 
she back-haired and scratched in return. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Back-hair parts (Theatrical}. 
Roles in which the agony of the 
performance at one point in the drama 
admits of the feminine tresses in 
question floating over the shoulders. 

Like the famous lady who never would 
undertake any but 'back-hair' parts, 
the Parisian comedienne could only with 
difficulty be prevailed upon to become 
a stage heroine whose garments have to 
express the depths of an unpicturesque 
poverty. D. N., November 1884. 

Back o' the green (Theatre and 
Music-hall}. This is a sort of rebus, 
the * green ' being an imperfect rhyme 
for 'scenes', also referring to that 
historical 'green' curtain which has 
now almost passed away. It represents 
' behind the scenes '. 

Back row hopper (Theatrical}. 
Chiefly used in taverns affected by the 
commoner members of * the profession '. 
' He's a back row hopper ' is said of an 
impecunious man who enters one of 
these houses on the pretence of looking 
for somebody, and the certain hope of 
finding somebody ready and willing to 
pay for a drink. 

Back slang it ( Thieves 1 }. To go out 
the back way. 

Back-scene (Devonshire). Literal. 
The second word direct from the 
French 'seant,', and an interesting 
example of evasive French- English 
found only in Devon. 

Backs, The (Cambridge). Literally 
the backs of several of the greater 
colleges, notably Trinity and John's 
seen from the opposite side of the Cam. 

St Andrews boasts her links, Oban is 
proud of her bay, Cambridge has her 
'backs', and whoever visited Liverpool 
without hearing of her docks ? D. N. 

Backsheesh (Anglo-Arabic). Bribe. 
The origin of this word is historical. 
When Mohamed Ali endeavoured, after 
his lights, to bring Egypt within the 
pale of civilization, he sought to abate 
the endless begging exercised by most 
of his subjects. To this end he assured 
his people that if they did not beg, 
foreigners would always make them a 
backsheesh, or 'present'. The natives 
accepted the theory, but only to apply 
it to their old practice. They begged, 
as they beg to this day, as much as 
ever ; but they made their entreaties 
elegant by asking for a backsheesh 
the one word of Arabic that every 
Englishman in Egypt learns, even if 
he acquire no other. 

The people who talk of bribery and 
'backsheesh' in such circumstances are 
imperfectly informed as to desert 
customs and slang. To give a Sheikh 
who gets for you a hundred camels, say 
60, is not an act of bribery. It is 
merely paying him a commission. 
D. N. t 16th March 1883. 

Bad cess to ye ! (Irish). Cess board 
and lodging. An amiable Celtic bene- 
diction. An Act of Parliament was 
passed during Strafford's viceroyalty 
* for the better regulating of Ireland ', 
wherein we find these words : ' Whereas 
there are many young gentlemen of 
this kingdom (Ireland), that have 
little or nothing to live on of their 
own, and will not apply themselves to 
labour, but live coshering on the 
country, cessing themselves and their 
followers, their horses and their grey- 
hounds, upon the poorer inhabitants,' 
etc., etc. This phrase is in common 
use in England where the two words 
are supposed to mean ill-luck, as 
indeed they do, e.g., ' Bad cess to you, 
Joe wherever you go ! ' 

Bad crowd (Calif or nian). A man 
of indifferent character. 

She then went out to tell the feminine 
convention on the back stoop what a bad 
crowd Jabez used to be when he kept a 
chicken-ranch on the Stanislaus in '51. 
San Francisco Mail. 

Bad egg (Peoples'). A person hope- 
lessly beyond cure, perfectly disreput- 
able. Originally American, though no 
longer used in the U.S. Colloquial in 

A man out West, by the name of 
Thomas Egg, having committed some 
crime, his neighbours gave him the 


Bad Form 

Bag and Baggage 

appellation of a ' bad Egg ', which, in its 
application to vice, with man, woman, or 
child, they are invariably called bad 
eggs. It is also used to denote a good 
man, by calling him a good egg. And 
this is used either to denote his moral or 
pecuniary standing. American Paper. 

Bad form (Soc., 1860 on). The 
opposite of Correct Fashion. Derived 
from the racing stable. 

The very low bodices of some seasons 
ago are now considered ' bad form ' (a 
quite untranslatable phrase). D. N., 
' Dresses for dances ', 15th December 

This ingenious piece of tactics in 
taking cover was looked upon as ' bad 
form ', even by the other hill men, who 
appreciated the scruples of British 
humanity. Newsp. Cutting. 

(See No class). 

Bad hat (Middle-class, 19 cent.). A 
queer chum, dissatisfactory mess-mate, 
disreputable person. Probably Irish, 
from the worst Hiberian characters 
always wearing bad high hats (caps 
are not recognised in kingly Ireland). 

What a shocking bad hat ! is the next 
cry, with something of an historical 
flavour about it, that I can recollect. 
The observation is not yet wholly extinct, 
I should say, although its meaning has 
entirely vanished from the public ken ; 
but, according to Sir William Fraser, in 
his Words on Wellington, the origin of 
this derisive criticism on a gentleman's 
head -gear was as follows : ' When the first 
Reform Parliament met, the Duke went 
into the Peers' Gallery of the House of 
Commons Sir William Fraser says that 
it was the Bar, but this part of his state- 
ment is due, I should say, to a slip of the 
pen to survey the members. Expect- 
ing, of course to be questioned, and 
knowing that his words would be 
repeated, the Duke, prompt as usual, 
was ready for the inquisition ; and when 
asked, on walking back to the House of 
Lords, what he thought of the new 
Parliament, he evaded responsibility by 
saying, " I never saw so many shocking 
bad hats in my life." The catchword 
soon lost its political associations, and 
after a few years, was merged in the 
purely imbecile query, ' ' Who's your 
hatter ?'" G. A. Sala, in D. T., 28th 
July 1894. 

Bad Shilling (Common). The last, 
e.g., 'That's a bad shillin', that is, for 
there ain't another beyinde it, you 

Bad young man (L. Peoples', 1881). 
Antithesis to Good Young Man (q.v.). 

That the fatted calf, who had never 
been a prodigal, should suffer death in 
honour of the bad young man has never 
seemed to me strict dramatic justice. 
Ref., 18th January 1885. 

Badger, to (Peoples'). To worry. 
From worrying a badger in his hole 
until he comes out to show fight. (See 
Draw.) It forms a remarkable ex- 
ample of complete inversion of the 
original meaning, for it was the badger 
which was worried he was never the 
worrier. Nowadays he is the aggressor. 

Immediately after the explosion at the 
House of Commons on Saturday I went 
to see 'the scene'. Thanks to the 
courtesy of the officials in charge sorely 
badgered by M.P.'s, peers, and public 
persons, who had come out of idle curi- 
osity I was able to make a thorough 
inspection both of the House and of 
Westminster Hall. Ref., 1st February 
1885. (See also G.O.M.) 

Badges and Bulls' eyes (Army, 
1899). In the Boer Revolt (October 
1899), the officers' medals and badges 
offered fatal bulls' eyes for the Bore 

The question has been much discussed 
whether, in view of the terrible gaps 
made in the roll of officers, they were not 
even yet too much marked out as Boer 
targets by what General Gatacre called 
badges and bulls' eyes. D. T., 21st 
December 1899. 

Bag o' Beer. (Lowest people's). 
Bacchanalian brevity for it means, 
and nothing else than a quart half of 
fourpenny porter and half of fourpenny 
ale. This once stood ' pot o' four 'arf 
an' 'arf, reduced to 'four 'arf, and 
thence to ' bag o' beer '. 

Bags o' Mystery. (Peoples'). A 
satirical term for sausages, because no 
man but the maker knows what is in 

'If they're going to keep running-in 
polony fencers for putting rotten gee- 
gee into the bags of mystery, I hope 
they won't leave fried-fish-pushers alone.' 

This term took its rise about 1850, 
long before the present system of 
market-inspection was organised. But 
this term remained long after sausages 
were fairly wholesome. The 'bag' 
refers to the gut which contained the 
chopped meat. 

Bag and Baggage. Thoroughly, 
completely. It once more became 
popular from a phrase in a speech by 
Gladstone in reference to the Turk in 


Bagger, Bag-thief 


Europe, whom he recommended should 
be turned out of Europe * bag and 

The truth of the matter is that all the 
petty States which won over the sym- 
pathies of sentimental politicians by their 
eternal whinings against that ' big bully, 
the Turk ', have proved themselves past 
masters in the art of oppressing minorities, 
now that the tables have turned. They 
would like to carry into effect the ' bag 
and baggage ' theory, and make a clean 
sweep of foreigners, to whatever race or 
religion these latter may belong. D, T., 
13th August 1885. 

Bagger, Bag-thief. (Thieves'). A 
stealer of rings by seizing the hand. 
Possibly from the French 'bague', a 

Baiard (Peoples'). A good fellow. 
Still now and again heard in the 
provinces ; of course from Bayard, the 
chevalier ' sans peur et sans reproche '. 

'Thou'rt a real baiard thou art. 
How now, mates, what baiards have we 
here ? ' Garrick, Abel Drugger. 

Bailiff of Marsham (Fens, 17 cent.}. 

There was so much water constantly 
lying about Ely, that in olden times the 
Bishop of Ely was accustomed to go in 
his boat to Cambridge. When the out- 
falls of the Ouse became choked, the 
surrounding districts were subject to 
severe inundations ; and after a heavy fall 
of rain, or after a thaw in winter, when 
the river swelled suddenly, the alarm 
spread abroad 'The Bailiff of Bedford 
is coming ' the Ouse passing through 
that town. But there was even a more 
terrible bailiff than he of Bedford, for 
when a man was stricken down by the 
ague, it was said of him, he is arrested 
by the Bailiff of Marsham, this disease 
extensively prevailing all over the 
district when the poisoned air of the 
marshes began to work. Smiles, Lives of 
the Engineers. 

A fine example of passing English 
being helped by old phrases, for when 
the draining of the fens had been 
practically accomplished, ague ceased 
as an endemic disease. The term, 
however, is still heard now and again 
at any point between Boston in the 
north and Chelmsford in the south. 
It is metaphorically used to suggest 
approaching death. 

Baked dinner (Jocose, Prison, 1 9 cent. ), 
Bread which is baked. The phrase 
was habitually used at Bridewell, this 
prison having been utilized until quite 

recently as a place of detention rather 
than as a prison for the punishment of 
troublesome city apprentices bound to 
freed men of the City of London. 
They were taken before the City 
Chamberlain, who in extreme cases 
sent the youngsters to Bridewell, in 
Bridge Street, Blackfriars, where a 
painting or two of Hogarth's are still 
to be found. Here the offenders were 
kept in honourable durance for a fort- 
night or more without labour, their 
only punishment being the absence of 
liberty. It was upon these neophytes 
that the trick was played of telling 
them that they were to have ' Baked 
Dinner'. Their disappointment, and 
the explanation of the term afforded 
huge merriment, reiterated on every 
possible occasion. 

Baker's Dozen. Thirteen grimly 
used fora family of twelve and another. 

The ' baker's dozen ', meaning thirteen, 
dates back to the time of Edward I., 
when very rigid laws were enacted 
regarding the sale of bread by bakers. 
The punishment for falling short in the 
sale of loaves by the dozen was so severe 
that, in order to run no risk, the bakers 
were accustomed to give thirteen or 
fourteen loaves to the dozen, and thus 
arose this peculiar expression. Newsp. 

Balaclava (1856-60). A full beard, 
first seen upon the faces of the English 
army upon their return to England 
from Crimea. The new departure was 
instantly dubbed with the name of the 
most popular of the three great battles 
(Alma, Balaclava, Inkermann), the name 
probably being chosen by reason of the 
brilliancy of the charge of the Light 
Brigade. French writers who had 
visited the Great Exhibition of 1851, 
and who had been struck by the 
absolute absence of the moustache 
(except in the case of some military 
men), and the utter absence of the beard, 
without exception, were astonished 
upon return visits half-a-dozen years 
afterwards, to find Englishmen were 
bearded like the pard. Britons upon 
the principle of reaction always going 
the whole hog, grew all the hair they 
could, and the mere moustache of 
Frenchmen was nowhere in the fight. 
Interestingly enough, exactly as the 
wild, unkempt beard of ' The Terror ' 
dwindled into the moustache for the 
young, and the cStelette (mutton-chop) 
for the elderly, so the Balaclava (which 



Bang (To) 

abated the razor, as a daily protesting 
sacrifice to anti-gallicanism) toned 
down by '70, into the various beards 
of to-day the Peaked, the Spade, the 
Square, and other varieties of Tudor 
beards. These remained until the 
Flange, or Dundreary (see 1872-73),came 
in and cleared the chin, to be followed 
by the Scraper. To-day the 'York' 
prevails the short, pointed beard still 
worn by the Prince of Wales. 

Bald-head (American). An old 

The house-fly flies an average of three 
miles per day. He can't be biting babies 
and bald heads all the time, you know. 
Texas Sif tings. 

Byron used this term contemptuously 
in The Two Foscari, Act iii., sc. 1. 
MARINA. 'Held in the bondage of ten 
bald heads,' referring to the Council of 

Bald-headed Butter (Com. 
London). Butter free from hairs. 
First publicly heard in a police-court 
case, where the satire had led an 
indignant cheesemonger to take law 
in his own hands. 

' Waiter, I'll take a bit of bald-headed 
butter, if you please.' 

Bailey, To ( Com. Lond. ). To be off, 
e.g., 'I thought it was time to be off, 
so I balleyed.' (See Skip, Valse, Polka.) 

Balloon (Tailors'). A week's en- 
forced idleness from want of work. 
French, Ulan, officially a balance-sheet 
book, figuratively a sentence, con- 

Balloon-juice (Public-house, 1883). 
Soda-water ; presumably suggested by 
its gassy nature. 

It's as good as a bottle of balloon- juice 
after a night's hard boozing. Newsp. 

Balloon-juice Lowerer. A total 
abstainer, the ' lowerer ' from the use 
of ' to lower ' for ' to swallow '. 

To be a booze fencer now, is to be a 
mark for every balloon-juice lowerer who 
can't take a drop of beer or spirits 
without making a beast of himself. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Bally (Sporting, 1884 on). Ex- 
cessive, great. Perhaps an evasion of 

' Too bad, too bad ! after getting 
fourteen days or forty bob, the bally rag 
don't even mention it. I shall turn 
teetotal '....' Has that bally Ptolemy 
won, d'ye know? What price did he 
start at ? ' . . . 'If you had been born 


an elephant instead of a bally jackass, 
you would have had your trunk on the 
end of your nose, when you could have 
seen to it yourself . 'Sporting Times. 
llth April 1885. 

Balmedest Balm (Low London). 
Balm in the extreme. 

' It is just a little the balmedest balm 
you ever plastered on your love-stricken 
heart. Try it, Annetta ; and don't be 
afraid of it ; spread it on thick. ' Newsp. 

Balsam (Sporting}. Money. From 
both medicaments being of such an 
agreeable character. Originally con- 
fined to dispensing chemists. 

Ban (Com. Irish, 18 cent. on). Lord- 
Lieutenant. There is a supposed 
association between 'ban', curse or 
edict, and ' banshee ', the precursor of 
sorrow. Still in use, e.g., ' Bedad, one 
ban or anoder, 'tis the same man. ' 

Banbury (London, 1894). One of 
the more recent shapes of 'jam', 
'biscuit', 'cake', 'confectionery', 'tart' 
(qq.v.) a loose woman. 

Witness took several names and 
addresses, and some of the females 
described themselves as 'Banburys' ; 
and said they got their living as best 
they could. Eaid on the Gardenia Club, 
The People, 4th February 1894. 

Baned (Prov. ). Poisoned, e.g. , < I'll 
have 'ee baned like a rat.' Abbrevia- 
tion of henbane. 

What if my house is troubled with a 

And I be pleased to give ten 
thousand ducats 

To have it baned ? 

Merchant of Venice, Act iv. 

Banded (Low London). Hungry. 
May be Romany, or literal, hunger 
pressing like a band on the stomach, 
e.g., 'I've been fair banded all the 
blooming week.' 

Bang (S. Exchange). To loudly 
and plentifully offer a certain stock 
with the intention of lowering its price. 

When any adventurers call them 
bears or bulls, or any other animals 
start to bang the shares, do not lend 
yourself to the game they are playing ; 
sit close on your shares. D. T., 2nd 
June 1898. 

Bang; (To) (Fashion, 1870-95). Mode 
of dressing the hair in a line of fixed 
curls over the forehead. Chiefly used 
by women in England. Introduced by 
the then Princess of Wales. Commonly 
called to ' fringe ' the hair. 

An American lady has written : ' If for 

Bang Mary 

Banyan Day 

a few brief hours of triumphant bang you 
are willing to undergo a long night of 
anguish, roll three rows of these wooden 
fire-crackers in your perfumed tresses.' 
D. N., 21st October 1886. 

The man who bangs his hair hasn't 
enough sense to blow out his brains, even 
if he possessed any. N. Y. Commerc. 

This fashion at last gave way (1895) 
to ' undulated bands ' covering the 
forehead, and, more fashionably, also 
the ears. 

Bang Mary (Kitchen). The 
English cook's translation of 'bain 
Marie', the small saucepans within 
another saucepan of boiling water, an 
apparatus devised by a French cook 
named Marie. This obvious simplifica- 
tion of French is a good example of the 
vulgar habit of fitting foreign words to 
well-known English ones of something 
like similar sound (' folk-etymology '). 

Bang through the Elephant 
(Low London). A finished course of 
dissipation, as thus : drunk rhymed 
into elephant's trunk, abbrev. to 

'You're no fool, don't you know, 
you're up to slum ; been right bang 
through the elephant.' 

Bang Up (Low London). First- 
class, superior. ' Bang ' probably from 
the commanding cry of a cannon or 
gun, while ' up ' is always an aspiring 
adverb, or even verb. However, ' bang ' 
may be a vivid translation of ' bien ', 
an exclamation certainly used at the 
court of Charles II. 

Bang up to the Elephant (London, 
1882). Perfect, complete, unapproach- 
able. The ' Elephant ' ( ' Elephant and 
Castle Tavern,' South London), had for 
years been the centre of South London 
tavern-life when (1882) Jumbo, an 
exceptionally large elephant at the 
Zoological Gardens, became popular 
through certain articles in the D. T. 
The public were pleased to think 
Jumbo refused to leave England and 
the gardens for America. He, how- 
ever, did ultimately, with no emotion, 
leave behind him this bit of passing 

' The fly flat thinks himself so blooming 
sharp, so right bang up to the elephant, 
that he's got an idea that no sharper 
would ever try to take him on.' 

Banian Day. See Banyan Day. 

Banjoeys (Soc., 90's). Banjoists. 
A happy application of the comic joey 

comic since the time of Grimaldi. 
An evasion of the ' ist ' and invention of 
a friendly term at the same time. Said 
to be a trouvaille by the Prince of Wales, 
who brought banjo orchestras into 
fashion, being a banjoey himself. 

Bank Up, To (N. Country coal 
districts). To complete, to more than 
complete referring to building up a 
huge fire, e.g., 'Us sooped yell till 
niight, an' then us poot away room ! 
Then we banked up with a jolly dance 
and the tykes did go it.' 

The Helston Flora Day or 'Furry 
Day' was a go-as-you-please sort of 
festivity, where people danced in the 
streets, waltzed in and out each other's 
doors, and hilariously ' banked up ' these 
entertainments by holding a bird show 
and running foot races. D. T., 20th 
August 1896. 

Banker Chapel Ho (E. London). 
Whitechapel, and, in another shape, 
vulgar language. The word got in 
this way. In the first place, it is a 
ludicrous Italian translation Bianca, 
white; cappella, chapel = White Chapel. 
Then Anglicization entering in, the 
first word got into ' Banker ' and the 
second back into Chapel, with the 
addition of the rousing and cheery 
'Oh!' 'Ah, Mrs Dicks, but you 
know the force of the sweet Italian 
quotation "Giotto Cimabue di Fra 
Angelico in Sistine " ! ' To which 

Mrs D , originally from the district, 

might reply : ' Now, Ned, there's a 
good feller, none o' your Banker Chapel 

Bant, To (Soc., 1860 on). To reduce 
stoutness. From the name ' Banting ', 
that of a very fashionable funeral 
undertaker, who reduced himself many 
stones by the use of non-fat-producing 
food. He had a whale-bone frame 
made to fit his once large waistcoats 
and coats, and wore the whole over his 
reduced size removing this armour to 
produce a full effect. 

The Globe Dime under Meehan and 
Wilson has not been behind its neigh- 
boiirs in furnishing attractive novelties, 
leading off with John Craig, a champion 
of obesity, who has ' banted ' down to a 
net weight of 758 pounds avoirdupois. 
N. Y. Mercury, 13th January 1885. 

Banyan Day (Middle-class). No 
meat ; only ' bread and cheese and 
kisses ' through twenty-four hours. Of 
course from India and the Army, the 




cooling banyan suggesting that all the 
rupees went yesterday. 

If the actor has been taking the M.P. 
unawares on banyan day, when there 
wasn't enough cold meat to go round, I 
certainly think he owes him an apology. 
Ref., 25th February 1882. 

In Devonshire the word is even 
applied to scrappy, tawdry dressing, 
e.g. , ' What a banyan sight to be sure ! ' 
(The word must be pronounced as a 

Those were the halcyon days of British 
industries. The banyan days have been 
with the miners since then, and seem 
likely to stay. Ref., 2nd May 1886. 

They told me that on Mondays, 
Wednesdays, and Fridays, the ship's 
company had no allowance for meat, 
and that these meagre days were called 
banyan days, the reason of which they 
did not know ; but I have since learned 
they take their denomination from a 
sect of devotees in some parts of the 
East Indies, who never taste flesh. 
Smollett, Roderick Random, ch. xxv. 

' Banyan ' is sometimes used for the 

The first hour found him beastly 
drunk ; the second, robbed and stripped 
to his banyan. Rattlin the Reefer, 
ch. xliii. 

Barbecue (Old English}. Any 
animal, bird, or large fish cooked 
whole, without cutting, from beard 
(barbe) to tail (queue). 

The triumphal procession of a band of 
music, to welcome Mrs Langtry, was a 
comparatively ancient device smacking 
somewhat of both the circus and the 
institution known in America as a 
' barbecue ' (a festival where a bullock or 
sheep is roasted entire, set to music). 
Newsp. Gutting. 

In the United States the word now 
represents a noisy political meeting. 

I see they announce a big, old- 
fashioned barbecue to be given next 
week by the Brooklyn Democrats, at 
which Cleveland and Hendricks, Presi- 
dential candidates, are to participate. 
This barbecue holdin' used to be a very 
popular form of political excitement in 
the olden time. Newsp. Gutting. 

The barbecue was announced as a 
' Monster Democratic Kally ', and ' A 
Grand Political Carnival and Ox-Roast '. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Barber's Cat (Peoples'}. A skinny 
man. Perhaps a corruption of ' bare 
brisket ', also used for a thin fellow 
the brisket being the thinnest part of 

Barclay Perkins (Peoples'). Stout 
From the brewing firm Barclay, 
Perkins & Co. 

Barg-es (Peoples', c. 1884). Imita- 
tion breasts, which arrived from 
France, and prevailed for about four 
years. Named probably from their 
likeness to the wide prow of canal- 

Bark up a wrong- Tree (American, 
e.g., 19 cent.}. Mr Rees, an American 
etymologist, says : 

This is a very common expression at 
the West. It originated, as many of 
these vulgarisms do, from very simple 
causes. In hunting, a dog drives a 
racoon, as he imagines, up a certain tree, 
at the foot of which he keeps up a 
constant barking, by which he attracts 
the attention of his master, who vainly 
looks on the tree indicated. While 
endeavouring to find the animal he dis- 
covers it on another tree, from which it 
escapes and gets beyond his reach. 
Hence the phrase ' To bark up the wrong 
tree'. It has become general in its 
application, denoting that a person has 
mistaken his object, or pursuing the 
wrong cause to obtain it, etc. 

Barkis is Willin' (Peoples', 1850). 
Form of proposal of marriage, still very 
popular in lower-middle classes. From 
Dickens' David Gopperfield, ch. v. 

'Ah,' he said, slowly turning his eyes 
towards me. 'Well, if you was writin' 
to her p'raps you'd recollect to say that 
Barkis was willin 1 : would you ? ' 

Characters hardly less distinguishable 
for truth as well as oddity are the kind 
old nurse and her husband, the carrier, 
whose vicissitudes alike of love and 
mortality are condensed into three words 
since become part of universal speech, 
Barkis is willin . Foster, Life of Dickens, 
vol. in., p. 18. 

In cross-examination she said that the 
drinking fits usually occurred when Mr 
Dunn was from home. She did not 
think that the Walls were fit company 
for Mrs Dunn. Mr Wall did not pay the 
witness any attention. Mrs Wall wanted 
to force her son on the witness, but she 
resented it. Sir C. Russell : ' Waa 
"Barkis willing "? 'The witness: 'No.' 
(Laughter.) Dunn v. Dunn & Wall, 
30th January 1888. 

Barmy (Peoples'). Generally a 
bit barmy', rather mad, 'cracked'. 
From St Bartholomew, the patron 
saint of mad people. The pronuncia- 
tion of the saint's name was Barthelemy 
passing into Bartlemy (cf. Bartlemy 
Fair), and Barmy became the final 




form, e.g., 'The family has always 
been a bit barmy in the crumpet.' 
(Why crumpet should stand for head 
is, so far, beyond discovery. ) 

Barn. A public ball-room ; pro- 
bably because one of the last of the 
London garden ball-rooms was High- 
bury Barn, North London. (See 

Barn - stormers (Theatrical, 18 
cent. on). Inferior actors who play 
in barns. Used, of course, in scorn by 
those comedians who have reached 
permanent footlights. The term has 
now almost passed away in consequence 
of the enormous increase in the number 
of theatres which now exist, even in 
the smallest towns. The 'barn- 
stormers' hire a barn near a village, 
and there give their performance 
frequently of Shakespeare. 

Miss Helen Bancroft, who recently 
played in this city, was announced as 
with a barn-storming company. N. Y. 
Mercury, 1883. 

Barner (North London, 1860-80). 
A ' roaring ' blade, a fast man of North 
London ; from Highbury Barn, one of 
those rustic London gardens which 
became common casinos. The term 
remained until the Barn was swept 
away for building purposes. 

Barneries (Strand, 1887). Last 
outcome of S. Kensington exhibitions 
ending in '-ries '. 

Considerable commotion ensued at the 
Adelphi Stores, Strand, on account of 
the new proprietress, Miss Barnes, being 

E resented with a testimonial. Miss B. 
as already won favour in her new 
venture, and it is thought the 'Barneries' 
will be much affected by the profession. 
Ref., 20th February 1887. 

Barney (L. Eng.}. A quarrel, row, 
generally of an innocuous character. 

Then Selby runs out, and goes into the 
lodging-house to get another knife, but 
I stops him, and the barney was all over, 
but as we was agoing along to the 
hospital up comes a copper. People, 
6th January 1895. 

Baron George (S. London, 1882). 
A portly man. This term was derived 
from the Christian name of a Mr George 
Parkes, a portly theatrical lessee in 
S. London, who came to be called 
Baron George; e.g., 'He's quite the 
Baron George ! ' 

Barrel of Salt, To take with a 
(American). To accept under reserve, 


with incredulity. From the Latin 
phrase cum grano salts. 

He is therefore to be taken with a 
barrel of salt. Newsp. Cutting. 

Barrel of Treacle (Low London). 
The condition of love, suggested by 
the sweetness of this cloying synonym. 

Ton our sivey, we don't want to poke 
fun at chaps who've fallen into that 
barrel of treacle called love, and make 
up to their little lumps of soap in the 
operpro sort of way, and no blooming 
kid. Newsp. Gutting, 1883. 

Barrered (Low Life). A corruption 
of harrowed, from to barrow or put in 
a barrow, not that of the gardener 
but of the coster. Distinct from 
'shettered' (q.v.), intimating that the 
drunken gentleman was removed by 
his friends and not by the police ; e.g., 
'Which mum, we 'ad to barrer 'im 'ome. 
He were too that 'eavy to carry.' In 
St Giles the highest shapes of in- 
voluntary locomotion is ' wheeled ' (in 
a cab) then follows barrered then 
the declension is reached in ' shettered ' 
(shuttered). This term is passing 
away with the shutters themselves. 

Barrikin (Com. London). Barking, 

Let 'em say what they like, and howl 
themselves dotty. Their barrikin only 
makes 'em thirsty, and when they've got 
hot coppers through chucking the 
barrikin out too blooming strong they go 
in for a little quiet booze themselves, 
make no error. Newsp. Cutting. 

Barrister's (Thieves'). A thieves' 
coffee-house, derived from a celebrated 
host of this name. 

The witness remarked that he could 
not waste his time ; and Richards said 
he could not make out where he was, 
and he would go to the ' barrister's ' and 
look for him. (The witness explained, 
amid a roar of laughter, that a ' bar- 
rister's' was a slang term for a coffee- 
house frequented by thieves.) Cutting. 

Baseball (American, 1880 on). 
Small, insignificant. Sometimes heard 
in Liverpool. Suggested by the small 
size of the ball in question. 

Yesterday a Mercury reporter saw 
Heer within the prison walls. As he 
stepped into the corridor from his cell he 
evinced some nervousness, and stroked a 
' baseball ' moustache faintly perceptible 
on his upper lip, with his cigarette- 
stained fingers. N. Y. Mercury, 1880. 

Bash (Thieves', 1870). To beat 
heavily with the fist only. Probably 
the most modern onomatope the 


Bayreuth Hush 

word doubtless being an attempt to 
vocalize the sound made by a fist 
striking full in the face. 

This real lady said, ' I ain't any the 
wuss for being able to take my own part, 
and I should think myself very small 
beer, and no kid, if I couldn't bash any 
dona in our court.' Newsp. Gutting. 

Women of susceptible and nervous 
temperaments are asked to come to 
theatres and see for themselves how they 
hocuss and ' bash ' people at low river- 
side houses. Cutting. 

Mr Chaplin : ' Bless me, yes ! Didn't 
you know that he had offered Greenwood, 
of The Telegraph, a Civil List pension if 
he would get Lord Randolph "bashed" 
and dropped into the Thames?' Re/., 

Basher (Mod. Low. Lond.). A 
name applied to low fighting rowdies 
paid to bruise and damage. 

The villain of the piece and the 
'bashers', or hireling assassins, are 
supposed to carry on their trade un- 
checked in Ratcliffe Highway and 

Basket of Oranges (Australian, 
passing to England). Pretty woman. 
A metaphor founded on another 
metaphor the basket of oranges being 
a phrase for a discovery of nuggets of 
gold in the gold fields. One of the 
few flashes of new language from 
Australasia ; e.g., ' She's a basket of 
oranges fit for any man's table.' 

Bastile (Street, 18 cent. on). Any 
place of detention, but generally a 
prison or a workhouse. More 
commonly ' Steel '. The horror of the 
Bastile felt by all Frenchmen in the 
18th century spread to England, and 
the name was associated with oppres- 
sion. The word was particularly 
applied to Cold Bath Fields prison, 
Clerkenwell, which was called 'The 
Steel' until its final fall about 1890. 
The last new application of this word 
was (1870) to the Peabody Buildings 
for working men, erected in the 
Black Friars Road, London. It was 
the first of these buildings, which have 
long since been accepted and even 
battled for by working people. But 
at first the prejudice was very marked. 
The term has not been applied since 

Bath Oliver (W. Eng., 18 cent. on). 
A biscuit with a historical character. 

'Bobs' fights on 'Bath Olivers'. 
Shortly before leaving for the Cape he 
paid a visit to his sister, Mrs Sherston, 


of Bath, and took away with him to the 
front a bountiful supply of Bath Olivers. 
He sent home for a further supply, which 
Lady Roberts took with her when she 
went to join him. It is not every one who 
has heard of the Oliver. It is a biscuit, 
and owes its name to the celebrated 
Dr Oliver, a Bath physician, and the 
friend of Pope, Warburton, and other 
eighteenth century notabilities. When 
on his death-bed, the doctor called for 
his coachman, and gave him the recipe 
for the biscuits, ten sacks of flour, and a 
hundred sovereigns. The lucky fellow 
started making and selling the biscuits 
in a small shop in Green Street, Bath. 
And there they are made and sold to 
this day. M. A. P., 19th May 1900. 

Batter through (Peoples'). To 
struggle, beat thro', from French 
battre, to beat, probably used in the 
time of Charles II. ; e.g., ' He battered 
through the part somehow ! ' 

Batty-fang (Low London). To thrash 
thoroughly. Evidently battre a Jin. 
But how it passed into English, or 
whence it came, unless from the heated 
court of Charles II., it would be 
difficult to say. 

Baub (Cockney, 19 cent.). One of 
the commonest modes of evasively 
referring to the Deity modes in which 
some idea of the original word, either 
in length, syllable, or letters, or even 
rhyme, is to be traced ; e.g., ' S'elp me 
Baub, I didn't go for to do it.' How- 
ever, the word really comes from 
Catholic England, and is 'babe' 
meaning the infant Saviour. 

Baudinguet (Parisian). A nick- 
name given to Prince Napoleon in 1848, 
from the name of the mason who aided 
the Prince to escape from Ham, where 
he was imprisoned. It stuck to 
Napoleon III. even to 1870, when a 
war correspondent at Sarbriick (July 
1870) asked a soldier if he knew whether 
the emperor had arrived. The reply 
was : ' Oui ; Baudinguet est arrive.' 

Bayreuth Hush (Soc., 1890). 
Intense silence. From the noiseless- 
ness of the opera house at Bayreuth 
(Bavaria) when a Wagner festival is 
about to commence. 

If it cannot be said that the peculiar 
order of stillness known as the ' Bayreuth 
hush' made itself felt in the Covent 
Garden opera house last evening, yet 
there is no denying the spirit of expecta- 
tion and attention in which a full 
audience brought itself to the opening 
performance of the long-expected Ring 
cycle.Z?. T., 7th June 1898. 

Bazaar Rumour 


Bazaar Rumour (Army, 1882 
on). Doubtful news. Equivalent to 
' Hamburg '. The result of the Egyptian 
occupation, referring to native news 
spread through the bazaars of Cairo. 

I am able to contradict on official 
authority the statement published in 
London that there was a bazaar rumour 
that the Mahdi and his followers were 
marching on Dongola. D. N., 10th 
November 1884. 

Bazaar'd (Soc., 1882). Robbed. 
From the extortion exercised by remorse- 
less, smiling English ladies at 
bazaars. Applied everywhere. Re- 
placed, 'rooked' in society; e.g., 'I 
was awfully bazaar'd at San down.' 

A gentleman coming home from a 
bazaar met a highwayman, who accosted 
him with the professional formula of 
'Your money or your life.' 'My dear 
sir,' said the gentleman, 'I should be 
most happy to give you my money if I 
had any, but I have just been to a 
bazaar. '< The highwayman at once 
acknowledged the force of this argument, 
and further was so touched by the 
circumstances that he offered the victim 
a small contribution. Newsp. Cutting. 

Beach-comber (Nautical}. A pirate, 
a beach-loafer, or a yachting tourist. 
In its earlier shape it referred to the 
pirate who made a landing and swept 
up all he could that is, he 'combed 
the beach '. The pirate being quite 
dead in the Western Seas, this sense of 
the term is now only applied in the 
East, and generally to the Chinese 
marin d'industrie. The use of the 
word in its earlier meaning is some- 
times figurative, especially on the 
American coast, e.g., 'I was beach- 
combed out of every red cent.' In its 
later sense the word means a globe- 
trotter, or rather a beach -trotter, who 
travels only on land within easy 
distance of his wandering yacht. 

It would be better to enter the army 
from the ranks, or to go gold-mining in 
Chiapas, or try ivory and Central Africa, 
or even to be a beach-comber in some 
insular paradise of the Southern Seas, 
which, as Mr Stevenson is showing, is 
the best kind of lotus-eating life left to 
mankind. D. N., llth February 1891. 

Probably Mr Stevenson would not be 
displeased at the title of a literary beach- 
comber. D. N., 27th December 1890. 

Beadles (American). People of 
Virginia ; probably from their high, 
old-fashioned behaviour, which the 
Northerner associates with that ex- 
piring church functionary. 

Beak (Low London, 18 and 19 cent.). 
A magistrate. Probably from lawyers, 
as Thackeray has somewhere remarked, 
being celebrated for a vast expanse of 
aquiline nose. Mr Gr. A. Sala (D. T., 
28th July 1896), urges a different 
origin : 

A contributor to Notes and Queries 
states that Hookey Walker was a 
magistrate of much-dreaded acuteness 
and incredulity, whose Roman nose gave 
the title of ' beak ' to all his successors. 
The term is derived from the Anglo- 
Saxon ' beag ', a necklace or collar worn 
as an emblem of authority. Sir John 
Fielding, half-brother of the novelist, 
was known as the 'blind beak', and he 
died in 1780, sixty years before the cry 
of ' Hookey Walker ' became popular. 

Beak-hunter (Thieves'). Annexer 
of poultry. 

Bean-eater (New York}. A term 
of scorn for a citizen of Boston, refer- 
ring to the former Sunday custom 
observed by some Bostonians of accept- 
ing for dinner on that day cold belly 
of pork, and colder beans. (See Stars 
and Stripes.) 

Circus tricks ! circus tricks ! you bean- 
eaters ! Can't you tell when a feller's 
a-dying: Gutting. 

Beanfeast (Peoples'}. A treat. 
Used generally in reference to enjoy- 
ments, and derived from the yearly 
feast of employees in factories and 
shops, of which much of the expense 
is borne by the employer. Originally 
the treat consisted of broad beans and 
boiled bacon, which must have been a 
great delight when few green vegetables 
were obtainable throughout winter. 

Oh, it was quite a beanfeast only one 
mouse [= black-eye]. Cutting. 

Sometimes it is used satirically to 
denote a riot, e.g., 'What a bean- 
feast ! ' parallel with the American 
' picnic '. 

Beano (Peoples'). Great rejoicing. 
From bean-feast, reduced to bean, with 
the ever rejoicing o added. (See Boyno. ) 
It may be a connected coalition with 
' bueno ' common in London Docks 
being Lingua Franca. 

One day last week I said ' Good-bye ! ' 
To my kids, my wife, and home, 

I met some pals, and away we went 
For a ' beano ' by the foam. 

Cutting, 1897. 

Beaner (Peoples'}. Chastisement. 
' To give beans ' is to inflict punish- 
ment, a phrase derived from boys 




beating each other with a collection of 
horse-beans in the foot of a sock. The 
word 'beaner' is sometimes used 
ironically, calling something agreeable 
which is quite otherwise, e.g., 'That's 
a beaner that is ! ' 

Beanpea (London Streets). A 
coalescing of B and P (q.v.) into one 
word, the d being dropped. Doubtless 
the outcome of time, and the droll idea 
of combining the two vegetables which 
come in almost at the same time. 
Still hastily, too hastily, applied to 
effeminate youths. The case was 
thrown out of Court when it came 
before Lord Chief-Justice Cockburn. 

Beans. Sovereigns. Possibly a 
corruption of bien (a sovereign being 
certainly a ' bien '). But it may be a 
market-gardeners' trade phrase. But 
if so, why beans ? Why not straw- 
berries, or asparagus, or some other of 
the more valuable products ? 

Be-argered (Peoples'}. Drunk. 
The ' argered ' is ' argumentative ', a 
drunken man being commonly full, not 
only of beer, but also of argument. 

Beast (Fowls', 1870). A bicycle 
the first endearing metaphor bestowed 
upon this locomotive. Used in no way 
derogatively, but as though a horse a 
hunter. (See Bone-shaker, Craft, 
Crock.) But, as time went on and the 
' byke ' became a power, it ceased to be 
associated with a mere animal ; by 
1897 no term could be too distinguished 
by which to designate the all-conquer- 
ing machine. 

Beat-up (Soc., 19 cent.). To call 
upon unceremoniously ; from beating- 
up game, which is certainly not treated 
with politeness when wanted, e.g., 
' I'll beat you up on Monday, or when 
I can.' (See Stir up, Have out.) 

Beau (Peoples'). A man of fashion 
early 18 century, of course direct 
from the French, and evidently from 
' est il beau ? ' for before ' homme ' it 
changes its formation : ' un bel homme ! ' 
Johnson says, ' A man whose great 
care is to deck his person.' Still used 
in country places. ' What a beau ye 
be, Tummis ! ' Earliest classic use by 
Dryden, ' What will not beaux attempt 
to please the fair ? ' Swift says, ' You 
will become the delight of nine ladies 
in ten, and the envy of ninety-nine 
beaux in a hundred.' Never now 
heard in towns. (See Spark. ) 

Beau-catcher (Peoples', 1854-60). 


A flat hook -shaped curl, after the 
Spanish manner, gummed on each 
temple, and made of the short temple 
hair, spelt sometimes bow-catcher. It 
is synonymous with ' Kiss curl'. Now 
obsolete on this side of the Pyrenees. 

Beaver-tail (Mid. -class, 1860). A 
feminine mode of wearing the back- 
hair, turned up loose in a fine thread 
net (called 'invisible') which fell well 
on to the shoulders. When the net is 
now worn, generally by lazy girls of 
the people, it is fixed above the neck. 
Obviously from the shape of the netted 
hair to a beaver's flat and com- 
paratively shapeless tail. The well- 
marked fashion in hair for the people's 
women folk which followed was the 
' Piccadilly Fringe ' (q.v.). 

Bedder (Oxford- 1 er'). Bedroom. 

Bedford Go (Tavern, 1835-60). A 
peculiar oily chuckle usually accom- 
panied by the words, ' I b'lieve yer my 
bu-o-oy.' From the style of Paul 
Bedford, an actor for many years with 
Wright, at the old Adelphi. Bedford 
always was famous for his chuckle, 
but he raised it to fame in connection 
with the above credo, uttered in the 
celebrated melodrama, The Green 
Bushes. (See Joey, 0. Smith.) 

Bee (American). An industrious 
meeting as quilting, or apple- 

One day the boys over in the Bend 
had a hanging bee and invited us to 
come down and see a chap swing for his 
crimes. Detroit Free Press, January 

Beef (Theatrical, 1880). A bawl or 
yell. Probably the career of this word 
is 'bull bellow beef, 'the last word 
elegantly suggesting the declaration of 
a noisy bull. 

At the back was the musical box, and 
an obliging hammer-wholloper beefed 
the names of the different squallers and 
bawlers as they slung on the boards. 

Beef ( Clare Market extinct). Cat's 
meat, e.g., 'Give me my mouser's one 
d. of beef.' 

Beef a Bravo (Music-hall). To 
bellow, bravo like a bull, in order to 
lead the applause for a friend who has 
just left the stage. 

Beef-a-la-Mode (Com. London). 
Stewed beef called d-la-mode on the 
lucus a non lucendo principle for it is 
not a fashionable dish. It came from 
Paris, where, in the days of sign- 

Beef -heads or Cow-boys 

Behind Yourself 

boards, a restaurant where this dish 
was sold showed the sign of a bullock 
seated in clothes of fashion. 

You can swill yourselves out with beef- 
d-la-mode, as toffs call it, for two d., 
or you can indulge in the aristocratic 
sausage and mashed and half-a-pint of 
pongelow all for four d. Cutting. 

Beef-heads or Cow-boys (Ameri- 
can). People of Texas and the West 
of U.S.A. from the general employ- 
ment of the inhabitants being the 
harrying of cattle. 

Beef-headed. Stupid. Cattle be- 
ing heavy, stolid, and torpid. 

Beef-tugging (City). Eating cook- 
shop meat, not too tender, at lunch- 
time. Dinner is not clerkly known in 
the E.G. district as occurring between 
1 and 2 P.M. 

Been and gone and done it 
(Peoples'). Very general mode of say- 
ing that the speaker has got married, 
N.B. gone is in this relation generally 
pronounced 'gorne'. 

Marius and Florence St John have 
'been and gorne and done it' at last. 
The registrar of hatches, matches, and 
dispatches has tied what for them is the 
'dissoluble' knot. Newsp. Cutting. 

Been there (Amer.-Eng., 1870). 
Had experience; e.g., 'Thank 'ee 
no betting ; I've been there.' 

Some reasons why I left off drinking 
whiskey, by one who has been there. 
Paper in Philadelphia, Sat. Ev. Post, 

He wants a man who understands his 
case, who sympathises with him, who 
has been there himself, and who will 
give him a vent for his emotions at a 
reasonable rate per line. N. York Puck, 
14th September 1883. 

Beer and Skittles (Peoples'). A 
synonym for pleasure; e.g., 'Ah, Joe, 
if a bloke's life was all beer and 
skittles we shouldn't be doing time.' 

But life on a yacht is not all beer and 
skittles, nor is it always afternoon. 
There is the dreadful morning time, 
when the crew begin to stir on deck, 
and earthquake and chaos seem to have 
come. D. N., 22nd August 1885. 

Beerage (Soc. , 1 9 cent. ). A satirical 
rendering of peerage, referring to the 
brewery lords, chiefly of the great 
houses of Allsopp and of Guinness. 

Dr Edwards as a temperance worker 
had some very strong things to say a few 
months ago on the subject of the en- 
noblement of rich brewers. Of course 
he opposed it on moral grounds, but 

some of the old nobility would be inclined 
to agree with his denunciation of the 
'beerage' for other reasons Newsp. 

Beer-bottle (Street}. A stout, red- 
faced man. 

Beer-eaters (19 cent.}. A great 
consumer of beer, one who more than 
drinks it who lives on it. 

The Norwaygiansarea fine and a sturdy 
race, but not at all like I had imagined 
them, after all I had read about Sigurd 
and Sintram and Sea-egg-fried, and the 
Beerseekers, who must not be confounded 
with a race peculiar to London, found 
mainly upon licensed premises, and dis- 
tinguished among their kind as the Beer- 
eaters. Ref., 21st August 1887. 

Beer - juggers (Amer. Miner's}. 

The only busy people in the place were 
the wife of the pianist, who sat by him 
industriously sewing, and the women 
who sold drink. These latter are called 
beer-juggers, and fill a large place in the 
evening life of the miner. Journey 
Round the World : ' of LEADVILLE. ' 
D. N., October 1883. 

Beer O ! (Trades). The cry when 
an artisan does a something, or omits 
to do a something, the result of which 
in either case being a fine to be paid 
in pongelow. The exclamation is 
taken up by the whole shop, or rather 
was, as the custom is now obsolete. 

Beetroot Mug (Street). A red 
face passed for many years into Ally 
Sloper, a character in comic fiction 
since 1870, invented by Charles Ross, 
a humorist of the more popular kind. 

Before the War (Soc. , 1880). From 
America. A new shape of ' the good 
old times'. Whenever a ganache in 
the U.S.A. wants to condemn the 
present he compares it with the time 
'before the War (1860-65)'. 

' How beautiful the moon is to-night ! ' 
remarked an American belle to her lover, 
as they spooned in the open. ' Yes, ' 
was the reply ; ' but you should have 
seen it before the war ! ' Newsp. Cutting. 

Begorra, also By Jabers (Irish). 
Solemn Irish oaths. Both words have 
been adopted by common English folk. 
Spoken Yes, by jabers ; he's the best 
boy that ever was. Sure he's shown such 
powers of discernment ever since the 
first day he was born, that begorra he 
knows more now than ever I've forgotten. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Behind Yourself (Peoples' , 1896 on). 
Too far behind, quite in the rear, far 




from absolutely up to date. Antithesis 
of Too previous; e.g., 'What you 
thought to-day was Thursday ? Why, 
it's Saturday afternoon. You're behind 
yourself, man, and a deal at that.' 

Behindativeness (Soc., 1888). 
Referring to the dress pannier one 
of the shapes with which fashion is for 
ever varying the natural outline of the 
feminine frame; e.g., 'That lady has 
got a deal of behindativeness.' 

Belcher (Sporting, 19 cent.). A 
handkerchief pattern, round spots, 
light or dark upon a dark or light 
ground. From a prize-fighter, Jim 
Belcher, who always carried into the 
ring a wiping handkerchief of this 
kind. After Belcher's time, the 
'belcher' split up into colours, every 
prize-fighter having his own tints. 
Belcher's original was white spots on 
dark blue ground. Until quite recent 
years, a spotted neck-tie was called a 
Belcher : now called a ' moon-tie '. 

At one time ' belchers ' were made of 
that pattern which is affected in that 
spotty coat which Mr H. B. Con way 
sports in The Widow Hunt. Entr'acte, 
June 1885. 

Belittle, To. To make little of. 
An old word not found in most 
dictionaries, but brought into fresh 
use in 1898 by Mr Joseph Chamberlain, 
who about this time frequently used it. 

Our whole policy has been belittled 
and ridiculed by the men who, when 
they were in office, kept our Colonies at 
arms' length. Mr J. Chamberlain, 8th 
December 1898. 

The hard-won victories he gained in 
the old times are belittled and made 
nothing of. Sun, 6th December 1899. 

Bell the Cat ( Peoples'). To risk the 
lead. Still used without any real 
knowledge of its origin, but with 
thorough comprehension of its applica- 
tion, e.g., 'Yes, but who'll tell him 
she's no good who'll bell the cat? 
Some of us know he's got a bunch of 

The proverb is of Scottish origin, and 
was thus occasioned : The Scottish 
nobility entered into a combination 
against a person of the name of Spence, 
the favourite of King James III. It 
was proposed to go in a body to Stirling 
to seize Spence and hang him ; then to 
offer their services to the king, as his 
natural counsellors ; upon which the Lord 
Gray observed, ' It is well said, but who 
will bell the cat ? ' alluding to the fable 
of the mice, who proposed to put a bell 

round the cat's neck, that they might be 
apprized of her coming. The Earl of 
Angus replied that he would bell the 
cat : which he accordingly did, and was 
ever after called Archibald Bell-Cat. 

Belle a croquer (Soc., 1860). Beauti- 
ful enough to command desire. Dating 
second French Empire, it lasted into 
1883, in English Society, becoming in 
lower circles ' beller- croaker '. 

It possesses the further advantage of 
being blue enough to make a blonde 
belle cl croquer, and yet not too blue to 
make her darker sister look as delightful 
as Nature meant her. Newsp. Gutting, 

Bellering Cake (School). Cake in 
which the plums are so far apart that 
they have to beller (bellow) when they 
wish to converse. 

Belly-washer (Amer. Saloon). 
Lemonade or aerated water. (See 

Bellywengins (E. Anglian, chiefly 
Suffolk). A violent corruption of 
' belly- vengeance ', a cruel comment 
upon the sour village beer of those 

Belt (Anglo-American). To assault. 
From the army, where the belt was 
often used for aggressive purposes. 

Mrs Tice, who saw her approaching, 
said : ' There comes that old maid ; belt 
her.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Belt Case, The (Soc.). A symbol 
for years of wearisome tardiness. From 
a celebrated libel case, Belt v. Lawes 
(1882), which lasted on and off for 

It is more interminable than the Belt 
case. D. N., 25th October 1883. 

Ben (Theatrical, 19 cent.). Short 
for 'benefit' 'benefit' never being 
used under any consideration by any 
self-respecting actor when speaking in 
the profession. 'Benefit' succeeded 
' bespeak ', which was in use when 
Dickens wrote Nicholas Nickleby. 

Ben (Soc., 1880). A fib, a tarra- 
diddle. The history of this word is 
fortunately preserved. A well-known 
Italian proverb was converted into 
Se non e vero e Benjamin trovato. 
The 'Ben' was too evident to be 
resisted. Hence a fib was described 
as a Benjamin Trovato, passing into 
Ben Trovato, then Ben Tro, and 
finally Ben, whence it has got fatally 
confounded with ' ben ', the abbrev. 
of 'benefit'. 
The papers were rampant as to the 



Best Eye Peeled 

Czar's forty thousand dollar diamonds, 
and Modjeska's jewellery was one of the 
attractions of the season. Perhaps this 
story isn't true. Anyway, it will do to 
go into the Benjamin Trovato series. 
Ref., 29th March 1885. 

Here is a little story which, if not 
true, ought to be, for it is at least of 
the Benjamin order. Newsp. Gutting. 

Ben-cull (Thieves'). A friend. Ben 
is from the Hatton Garden Italian 

Bench Winner (Soc. ). A dog which 
has won many prizes at dog-shows 
from the exhibits being placed upon 

The result is a series of paintings very 
aptly termed ' A dog show on canvas and 
paper', for not only are all the Koyal 
favourites represented, but there is 
scarcely a bench winner of note not 
included. D. T., llth February 1897. 

The hounds are the property of Mr 
Edwin Brougb, who has devoted himself 
to bloodhound breeding. It has been 
Mr Brough's practice not only to breed 
for bench points, but to train his animals 
to exercise those peculiar faculties with 
which they have been endowed by 
nature. D. N., 10th October 1888. 

Bench Points (London). Ascer- 
tained and classified physical advan- 
tages. From show animals, especially 
dogs, being exhibited on benches. 
Applied also to women, e.g., 'Her 
bench points were perfect, but I 
shouldn't like a wife of her build.' 

Bend o' the Filbert (Low, 18 cent.). 
A bow or nod, filbert being elegantly 
substituted for the 'nob' or 'nut', 
both signifying head. 

She gives him a bend o' the filbert as 
much as to crack 'ight-ri, its oper-pro 
for your nibs, you can take on '. Cutting. 

The above describes a serio-comic 
lady accepting by a nod, while acting 
or singing, the attentions of an 

Bender (London). A sixpenny 
piece ; so called from the rapidity 
with which this coin wears thin, and 
thereupon easily bends. This was 
especially the case thirty years since. 

Bender (Anglo- Amer.). E.g., 'Three 
sailors on a bender,' i.e., ' on a drunken 
spree.' Possibly a conception of a 
'Bon Dieu' used exclamatorily='My 
eye ! ' or ' Good heavens ! ' or it may be 
from some Spanish word adopted by 
Texas cow-boys after that State was 
wrested from Mexico (1845), creeping 

up north. It is common to sailors 
' over the ditch '. 

There was a distant rumbling and 
groaning, as if old Vesuvius was on a 
bender. Newsp. Gutting. 

In England the Bender is the elbow. 
(See Over the Bender. ) 

Bengal Blanket (Anglo-Ind., 19 
cent.). Used by soldiers who have 
been in India to describe the sun ; e.g., 
' Yere's a London May fifteen days, 
and I ain't seen a corner o' Bengal 
Blanket what a climate ! ' (See Blue 

Benjamin (Maritime, 19 cent.). A 
sailor's blue jacket, larger than the 
' monkey ' jacket which barely passes 
the hip-bones. It was the merciful 
invention of a Hebrew sailors' -tailor on 
Portsmouth Hard. The grateful tars 
appear to have given the name of this 
watcher of their winter comforts to the 
garment he invented. The word is 
now in general use for a jacket of 
dark-blue or black cloth made long 
and fitting to the figure. Generally 
called an ' Upper Benjamin '. Sailors 
also call the rare nautical waistcoat a 
'Benjy'. Probably this was another 
invention, used in the diminutive form 
of the beneficent Benjamin. 

Benjo (Sailors', 1 9 cent. ). A riotous 
holiday, a noisy day in the streets, 
probably from 'ben', or buen giorno; 
e.g., ' Jim's out on a benjo.' 

Beong (Thieves'). A shilling pro- 
bably a form of the French ' bien ' ; 
for indeed a shilling is very well when 
coppers only are, as a rule, ours. 

Bermondsey Banger (London). A 
society-leader among the South London 
tanneries. He must frequent ' The 
Star', be prepared to hold his own, 
and fight at all times for his social 

Bespeak (Theatrical, 1830-50). A 
performance for the benefit of an actor 
or actress. The name took its rise 
from the patrons called upon by the 
beneficiare at the country theatre, giv- 
ing a comparative consensus of opinion 
as to the piece in which the applicant 
should appear. It was superseded by 
'benefit', which yielded to 'ben'. A 
good deal concerning bespeaks may be 
found in Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby. 

Best Eye Peeled (Amer.). A figure 
of speech for extreme alacrity. 

I tell you a driver on one of those 
vane has got to keep his best eye peeled 
every minute. Newsp. Gutting. 


Bet yer Sweet Life 

Big Beck 

Bet yer sweet life (Amer.-EngL). 
Perfect assurance, complete conviction. 

'Ob, no, certainly not,' said Mr Jones, 
smiling blandly. 'There are ups and 
downs in theatrical life ; can't always 

said Mr Lunk emphatically. 1884. 

Bet you a million to a bit of dirt 
(Sporting, 19 cent.}. ' The thing is so 
sure that there can be no uncertainty. 
The betting man's Ultima Thule of 

Bet your boots ( W. Amer}. Ab- 
solutely safe betting the boots being 
the most serious item of expense in the 
Wild West uniform. 

'You bet', or 'you bet yer life', or 
' you bet yer bones ', while to ' bet yer 
boots ' is confirmation strong as holy writ 
in the mines, at least. All the Year 
Round, October 1868. 

Betty Martin : v. All my eye and 
Betty Martin. 

Between the Devil and the Deep 
Blue Sea. Scylla on the one side, 
Charybdis on the other between two 
equal menaces. The phrase has no 
meaning as it reads the devil and the 
deep blue sea have no relation. May 
this not be one of the frequent per- 
versions of proper names to words well 
understood of the people? For in- 
stance, may it not refer to a couple 
of French admirals or generals 'Deville' 
and ' Duplessy ' 'Between Deville and 
Duplessy' inferring disaster for the 
middle party. The phrase is quite 

' I had to pay up there was Hook 
on one side, and Crook on the other 
I was between the Devil and the Deep 
Blue Sea.' 

He may indeed be said to be between 
the devil and the deep sea victims alike 
of Kurd and Turk. Joseph Hatton, 6th 
February 1898. 

Bever (E. Anglian). A four o'clock 
halt on the road for a drink. An 
interesting word, evidently from the 
Norman conjugation of boire. (See 
Levenses. ) 

Bexandebs (E. London, 18 cent. on). 
A young easy-go Jewess in the 
Wentworth Street district. A com- 
bination of Becks (Rebeccas) and Debs 
(Deborahs), used satirically, e.g., 'The 
bexandebs are in full feather it's 
Pentecost Shobboth ! ' 

Beyond, The (Amer. 1878). Heaven. 

To this, one venerable old gentleman 
in the circle responded that he could now 
see around him daily his friends who had 
gone to the beyond, and that if he is 
riding in a street car and it is not 
crowded, they enter and sit beside and 
opposite him. N. Y. Mercury, April 

Beweep (1898). A new form of 
'weep' brought in by the Tzar of 
Kussia (20th May 1898) in a telegram 
referring to the death of W. E. 
Gladstone. It took the fashion at 

The whole of the civilised world will 
beweep the loss of the great statesman 
whose political views were so widely 
humane and peaceful. (Signed) Nicholas. 

Bianca Capellas (E. London). An 
elegant evasion in describing White 
Chapellers cigars understood ; a very 
bad brand. 

There was adjoining this a smoking- 
room or salle d'attente, in which were 
some stale English papers and the odour 
of equally stale cigars, also English 
veritable Bianca Capellas but of the 
sort of thing that we wanted there was 
no sign whatever. Ref., 6th June 1886. 

Bible Mill (Com. London, 19 cent.}. 
A public-house. An attack upon 
Bible classes : said of noisy talking in 
a tavern. 

Bible Class, Been to a (Printers' 
Satire}. A gentleman with two black 
eyes, got in a fight. 

Bi-cameral (Polit., 1885). Two 
chambers, Lords and Commons. First 
heard in 1885 used satirically by the 
opponents of a second chamber. 

Mr Labouchere complained that of 
the sixteen members of the Cabinet 
thirteen are peers, or the near kinsmen 
of peers. This fact is an evil resulting 
from several causes. The first is the 
bi-cameral system, to adopt the con- 
venient pedantry of Continental writers. 
D. N., 9th September 1885. 

Bi-cennoctury (Theatrical, 1870). 
The two hundredth night of a run, 
with which explanation we leave this 
marvellous bit of etymology to the 
mercy of a critical world. 

Big Beck (Kent). A local oath, 
e.g., 'By the big beck' heard only 
in remote places. Probably refers to 
Thos. a Becket, and has come down 
from his canonized bones. Sometimes 
(still in Kent) ' By the Blessed Beck '. 
(See More blue). 


Big Bird 


Big Bird (Theatrical}. A hissing 
figurative reference to the goose (q.v.) 
a figure in itself for hissing; e.g., 
' Tom had the big bird last night, and 
he is in bed this morning.' However, 
this phrase sometimes has another 
meaning. At the Britannia Theatre 
the audiences began (about 1860) to 
compliment the accomplished villainy 
of the stage-villain by politely hissing 
him at the end of one act, to prove 
how well he had played the scoundrel. 
This thoroughly indigenous E. London 
fashion came West about 1878 where 
it was heard, perhaps at the Princess' 
for the first time. It has since spread, 
notoriously to the Adelphi (when still 
a dramatic house) and Drury Lane ; 
but it has never become a W. London 
institution. In the E., if the villain 
did not get the 'big bird', he would 
consider that he was not on a par 
with Titus, and that he had lost his 
day, or rather evening, and he might 
fear for the renewal of his engagement. 

Big end of a month (Anglo- 

'The "big end of a month" is three 
weeks. I heard a market man- speak of 
the "big end of a dozen" chickens.' 

Big Heap (Amer. old mining 
districts). A large sum of money 
now current also in England. 

Sam Adams had a ben. at the Pav. 
on Thursday night, and I hope he's 
made a big heap out of it. Newsp. 

Big Numbers (Anglo-French; old). 
Bagnios. From the huge size of the 
number on the swinging door, never 
shut, never more than two or three 
inches open. The English grooms, 
stable-men, and their like in France 
often use this phrase : ' Joe's fond o' 
the big numbers.' 'Tom Four can't 
run over to the old home for Christmas 
he's left too many of Nap's likenesses 
in the big numbers.' So extensively 
known throughout Europe was the 
association of big numbers and shady 
houses that, when about 1880, people 
began to place the numbers of their 
houses on their fanlights, for night 
observation, their neighbours were 
often quite unhappy (for a time); 
while even now many people shrink 
from the convenient custom. 

Big Pot (Music-hall, 1878-82). A 
leader, supreme personage, the ' don '. 


This phrase is probably one of the 
few that filter down in the world 
from Oxford, where, in the 50's it was 
the abbreviation of potentate. It 
referred to a college don, or a social 
magnate. It has remained per- 
manently a peoples' phrase the pot 
being associated with the noblest 
pewter in a public-house. 

' Some of the failures you meet at the 
"York" will try to impress you with 
the fact that the comic singers in receipt 
of big salaries have made their reputa- 
tion by means of "smut", and that if 
they (the unsuccessful ones) were to 
resort to a similar method of gaining 
the applause of audiences, the ' ' big pots 
would not be in it ".' Newsp. Cutting. 

The 'York' is an hotel in the 
Waterloo Road, 8. London, where 
music-hall people still meet. 

Billy born drunk (L. London). A 
drunkard beyond the memory of his 

He did not have 30 or 40 pots of beer 
that day. He could do a good many, but 
he was not going by the name of ' Billy 
born drunk '. People, 6th January 1895. 

Billy-cock (Provincial). A brimmed 
low, felt hat ; a modern amelioration 
of bully-cock, a term now having little 
or no meaning, e.g., ' Do you cock 
your hat at me, sir?' was the reply 
to this challenge the cocking of the 
hat. Other authorities hold the word 
to refer to William III., and his mode 
of wearing the hat. 

Billygoat in Stays (Navy, 1870-85). 
A term of contempt : probably the 
outcome of the astonishing use, by 
young naval officers, of waist-stays, 
during or about these years. Intro- 
duced by a young naval officer of the 
highest, who afterwards, on shore, 
came to be called 'cuffs'. 

Billy-ho (Peoples', Hist.). In 
excelsis ; suggests extreme vigour. 
May be from a proper name, ' Hough ' 
for instance, confounded with the big 
' ' so commonly used as a suffix to 
words of congratulation as ' What 
cheer ho ! ' ' What ho ! ' etc. 

The Marquis of Salisbury and Mr 
Biggar were having a cigar together. 
Said the Marquis : ' Weather keeps very 
dry ; we want rain badly. I think 
Canterbury ought to issue a prayer for 
it.' 'Arrah! be asy wid yer Canter- 
bury,' exclaimed Mr Biggar; 'it's just 
a new hat I'll be afther buying, and it's 

Billy Turniptop 

Birmingham School 

my umbrella I'll be lavin' at home, and 
shure it'll rain like billy -ho ! 'Ref., 9th 
August 1885. 

Billy Turniptop (1890 sqq). An 
agricultural labourer. Probably an 
outgrowth of Tommy Atkins. 

'Billy Turniptop' does not seem a 
very respectful description of the 
agricultural labourer, especially during 
election times, and the Unionist candi- 
date for Doncaster has been sharply 
pulled up for using that cognomen. 
His explanation was that he was only 
quoting the speech of a representative 
of the opposite party. D. T., 10th July 

Bin (Harrogate}. A mineral spring. 
Satire based upon the wine-cellar. 

It is considered high treason at Harro- 
gate to drink from the Old Sulphur, or 
any other 'bin', as a Scottish robust 
invalid calls it, without first consulting 
medical authority . D. N. (Harrogate), 
31st August 1883. 

Binder (Lower Class). An egg. 
Pint o' wash, two steps, an' a binder ' 
'a pint of tea, two slices of bread- 
and-butter, and an egg.' Alludes to 
its constipating action. 

Bindery (Amer.-Eng., 1879). A 
bookbinder's workshop. 

The word 'bindery', a new-comer in 
England, though in common use in 
Canada and the United States, has 
recently been welcomed with something 
like a bonneting by correspondents of 
Notes and Queries. Newsp. Cutting, 1879. 

Binned (Lond., 1883). Hanged; a 
ghastly word, referring to Bartholomew 
Binns, a hangman appointed in 1883. 

Bird (Theatrical). Hissing the 
bird being the goose (q.v.), whose 
general statements are of a depreciatory 

Professor Grant, Q.C., had both 'the 
bird ' and ' the needle ' at the Royal on 
Monday. Age, January 1884. 

Pantomimes and Blackmailers. 
Threats of ' the bird '. Already three or 
four of the most prominent artistes 
engaged at one house have been molested 
after leaving the theatre at night, and 
threatened with 'the bird' that is, 
hissing unless their tormentors are 
well paid to remain quiet. People, 6th 
January 1895. 

Bird ( Theatrical, 1 840). A figurative 
name of The Eagle, which was the title 
of the tavern and pleasure-grounds out 
of which grew the Grecian Theatre, 
an elegant name never accepted by its 
patrons, except a few who called it 


the Greek. 'Bird' it remained until 
General Booth of the Salvation Army 
bought it up (1882). To this day an 
effigy of the 'bird' surmounts the 
main building. (See Brit., Vic., Eff., 
Delphy, Lane.) 

Birdlime (Low Class, 19 cent.). 
Nonsense-rhyme for ' time '. 

We have been awfully stoney in our 
birdlime, and didn't know where to turn 
for a yannep, so we've had to fill up our 
insides on something less than two quid 
a week. 

Birdofreedomsaurin (Amer.). Bird- 
of-freedom soaring. A jocular mode of 
describing the altitude of the American 
eagle. Used mildly in England to 
deprecate any chance American extreme 
expression of patriotism. 

I think that Prince Louis Napoleon 
was over-dressed. I know that in his 
green or purple stock (I forget which) he 
wore an immense breastpin representing 
an eagle in diamonds not the eagle with 
displayed wings, that is, the American 
' birdofreedomsaurin ' but an aquiline 
presentment with the wings closed the 
eagle of Imperial sway. G. A. Sala, in 
D. T., 16th June 1894. 

Birds may roost in my bonnet, 

Any (Devonshire). Self - praise. 
Speaker so little given to slander 
that the most Aristophanic birds could 
carry no disparagement of hers between 
heaven and earth; e.g., 'Don't 'ee 
b'lieve it, Mrs Mog any bird may 
a-roost in my bonnet.' ' A little bird 
told me ' is in close relation with this 
phrase. The origin is to be found in 
Ecclesiastes, x. 20. For a bird of the 
air shall carry thee voice, and that 
which hath wings shall tell the matter.' 
The belief that birds carry messages 
between earth and heaven is common 
to all countries and times. In Europe 
the dove and the robin are the birds 
most associated with this charming 

Birmingham School (Soc.). A 
polite evasion of radical ; e.g., ' We do 
not like his politics at the Duke's he 
belongs too thoroughly to the Birming- 
ham School' about 1885. Since then 
Birmingham has climbed down or up ; 
and the centre of radicalism is supposed 
to be Newcastle. ' The Newcastle 
Programme should be backed by the 
Marquis de Carabas ! ' (See Newcastle 
Programme. ) 

Biscuit and Beer Bet 

Bit o' Raspberry 

Biscuit and Beer Bet (Street, 19 
cent. ). A swindle because the biscuit 
backer invariably loses, it being in- 
tended that he should lose to the 
extent of glasses round, for instance. 
The bet is as follows : that one youth 
(the victim) shall not eat a penny 
biscuit before his antagonist has 
swallowed a glass of beer by the aid of 
a teaspoon without spilling any of the 
beer. The biscuit is so dry, and the 
anxious bettor so fills his mouth in 
the desire to win that he generally 
loses ; e.g., ' Yere's a mug let's biscuit 
an' beer 'un.' 

Bismarck (Political ; South German 
and French, 1866). A term of con- 

A good story is told of a Bavarian 
who, quarrelling the other day with one 
of his fellow-countrymen, abused him in 
the most violent language, and, after 
exhausting a very extensive vocabulary 
of invectives, at last called him 
' Bismarck ! ' The phlegmatic German 
had borne all previous insults with 
praiseworthy patience; but, on hearing 
himself thus apostrophised, he flew into 
a tremendous passion, and cited his 
enemy before the courts. He was non- 
suited on the plea that ' Bismarck ' is a 
name, and does not necessarily imply an 
insult at least, no such interpretation 
was to be found in any of the Bavarian 
law precedents. This is not the first 
time that the name of a Prime Minister 
has thus been popularly applied as a 
term of contempt. Under the Restora- 
tion it was a common incident to hear a 
cabby apostrophising a sulky or restive 
horse, ' Va done, hS, Polignac ! ' and 
during the early part of the reign of 
the Grand Monarque, ' Mazarin ' was 
equivalent to the refined exclamation, 
' You pig ! ' which an attentive listener 
may be edified by hearing exchanged by 
the gamins of Paris in the present year 
of grace. Morning Star, 1867. 

After 1870, Bismarck was 'accepted' 
by Bavaria. 

Bit-faker (Thieves'). Counterfeit 
money - maker from ' bit ', money, 
and 'fake', to make, or rather 
cunningly to imitate. 

Bit o' Beef (Vulg. 19 cent.). A 
quid of tobacco; less than a pipeful. 
A playful, or possibly a grim, reference 
to tobacco-chewing staying hunger. 
(See City sherry ; Pound o' bacca.) 

Bit o' blink (Tavern). Drink- 
rhyming slang. 

Bit o' crumb (C. L., 1882). A 
pretty plump girl one of the series 


of words designating woman imme- 
diately following the introduction of 
1 jam ' as the fashionable term (in un- 
fashionable quarters) for lovely woman. 
Then Joe fell in love with a dona oh, 
what a bit of crumb. Newsp. Gutting. 

Bit of fat from the eye, Have a 

(L. Class). Suggestive of compliment 
this phrase being seriously used at 
a spread, or dinner of sheep's head, 
the orbits of the eyes being lined with 
a fat supposed by the accustomed con- 
sumer to be exceptionally delicate. 

Bit o' grease (Anglo- Ind. Army). 
A Hindoo stout woman of a smiling 
character, e.g. , ' She's a nice bit o' grease 
she is.' 

Bit of haw-haw (London Tavern, 
1860 on). A fop. Possibly suggested 
by the hesitating commencing syllable 
used by many well-bred men more 
frequently from modesty or caution 
than from any sense of impressing the 
idea of superiority. 

When these young bits of haw-haw 
borrow a swallow tail coat and a crook 
stick, and a bit of window to shove into 
their weak peepers, and then go into the 
Gaiety with an order, strike us purple if 
they're not at their best then. They 
know all the actresses of course, and the 
way they talk about some of 'em would 
make a red stinker turn blue. Newsp. 

Bit o' jam (1879). A pretty girl- 
good or bad. 

He kisses me, he hugs me, and calls 
me his bit o' jam, and then chucks me 
down stairs just to show me there's no ill 
feeling ; yet I love him like anything. 
Newsp. Gutting. 

Everything you see you just feel you 
would like to buy and take it home to 
the bit of jam. Newsp. Gutting. 

Bit o' pooh ( Workmen's}. Flattery 
generally said of courtship obtained 
very oddly. The exclamation ' pooh ' 
generally expressing nonsense, the 
phrase suggests flattering courtship or 

Bit o' prairie (Strand, 1850 on). A 
momentary lull in the traffic at any 
point in the Strand, so that the tra- 
veller can cross the road. From the 
bareness of the road for a mere moment, 
e.g., 'A bit o' prairie go.' 

Bit o' raspberry (Street, 1883). An 
attractive girl. When ' jam ' came to 
be used to describe a girl, the original 
double intendre suggested by a comic 

Bit o y Red 


song having become known raspberry, 
as the most flavoursome of conserves, 
was used to describe a very pretty 
creature. Then the jam was dropped, 
and the ' bit o ' affixed, and this phrase 
became classic. 

' So,' said Bill, ' you're the bloke who's 
spliced my bit o' raspberry'. Cutting. 

Bit o' ^(Historical, 18 and 19 cent.}. 
A soldier, e.g., 'A bit of red so lights 
up the landscape.' 

Bit o' stuff (Street, 19 cent.). A 
lovely woman not perhaps of a 
Penelope-like nature rarely at home. 

He waited for a bit of stuff near the 
stage door of the Comedy Theatre. He 
was an elderly cove and he had great 
patience. Cutting. 

Bit o' tripe (L. Class}. One of 
the endearing names given to the wife 
probably a weak rhyme. 

This paper always comes useful, if it's 
only to wrap a Billingsgate pheasant in 
to take home to the bit of tripe. 

Bit on, To have a (Sporting). To 
have a bet on a ' bit ' of money on a 

I hear that all the shining lights of 
the music hall who are accustomed to 
have a little ' bit on ' were on the right 
side. Newsp. Cutting. 

Bit to go with (Amer. - Eng.). 
Generosity as the result of self- 
satisfied superiority. 

An American railway train can give 
most things in this world a bit to go 
with in the way of noise. Ref., 20th 
February 1887. 

Bitch the pot ( University, down to 
1850). Amongst a tea-drinking party 
of men it was asked, ' Who'll bitch 
the pot ? ' meaning who will pour out 
the tea. 

Bitched (Printers'). Spoilt, ruined, 
in reference to type. 

Bite the tooth. To (Thieves'). To 
be successful. Origin unknown. 

Bite-etite, perhaps Bity tite (Peoples', 
E. London). Grotesque substitution 
of bite for the first four letters of 
' appetite '. (See Drinkitite. ) 

Bite off more than one can chew 
(American - English). Referring to 
plug tobacco, and meaning that the 
person spoken of has undertaken more 
than he can accomplish. 

Bits of Grey (Soc., 1880). Elderly 
vietims of both sexes present at balls 


and marriages, especially the latter, to 
give an air of staid dignity to the 
chief performers. ' Don't tell me we 
had a small and early, all young 
most miserable, growling, towering 
failure I ever endured. No stir-up 
for me without my bits of grey. They 
give tone to the whole thing.' Society 
Novel, 1883. 

Bits o' soap (Com. Land., 1883). 
Charming girls of a kind. 

I can imagine General Booth jumping 
in his boots when he piped that article in 
his paper. I wonder what all the con- 
verted bits o' soap thought about it. 
Cutting, 1883. 

(Booth became the self-appointed 
general of the Salvation Army, 1882-83.) 

Bitter path (Peoples', 19 cent.}. 
Emphatic intensification of oath ; e.g., 
Til take my bitter oath.' Oaths 
may be divided into two classes 
those which appeal to heaven, as ' By 
God', and those which relate to an 
antithesis, as ' By hell ', the former 
being the better oath. The masses, 
incapable of discriminating one kind 
from the other, simplified 'better 
oath ' into ' bitter oath ', as possessing 
more emphasis. 

Bitties (Thieves'}. Evasive term 
for skeleton -key s. 

Bivvy (London). Beer ; evidently 
from the French 'buvez' (Italian 
' bevere ') the imperative mood of 
the verb being applied to the beer 
itself. The difficulty is to find the 
descent. It may have come from 
French prisoners very early in the 
nineteenth century, or from the French 
colonies in Soho, or (more likely) from 
the Italian organ-grinding regiment in 
the neighbourhood of Hatton Garden. 

Black and white (Thieves' rhym- 
ing}. Night. It would mean, when 
used, ' to-night '. 

Black-bagging (1884). Dynami- 
tarding from the fact that where 
dynamite proceedings had failed at 
certain rail way- terminuses the explo- 
sive charges were found in black bags. 

Five thousand pounds reward for the 
discovery of the perpetrators of the out- 
rage at London Bridge is too much. It 
is an encouragement to others to go 
black-bagging. Ref., 4th January 1885. 

Black-ball ( Club, 1 9 cent. ). To reject 
by ballot. The word is now absolutely 
inappropriate, though still used by 

Block-bottle Scene 

Black Maria 

1 correct ' clubmen. It had meaning 
when club elections were effected by 
each elector being given one white and 
one black ball, so that upon opening 
the ballot-box the colours decided, 
black naturally being a negative. So 
far as the declaration of the election 
was concerned, nothing could be better 
than this mode ; but unfortunately 
every elector was troubled by the pos- 
session of the second ball, which he 
might drop and thereby betray his 
vote. This ball the voter certainly 
would have some inconvenience in de- 
positing, apart from the watchfulness 
of neighbouring eyes. Hence the new 
mode of club-balloting with a box, 
having a hole in front large enough 
for the entrance of the hand, the 
bottom of the box being divided by a 
high partition, while the outside is 
marked 'Yes' (or 'Ay') and 'No' 
referring to the two boxes formed by 
the partition. Only one ball is given 
to each voter, and thus he gets rid of 
his responsibility by depositing the 
ball either on one side or the other. 
Unfortunately nervous voters are fre- 
quently fogged the moment they lose 
sight of the right hand, while the 
ballot-box-carrier (where it is carried, 
instead of being placed on a table 
for the approach of the voter) has a 
frequent habit of tilting up the ' No ' 
side of the box, so that if the ball is 
not firmly manipulated when inside 
the palladium, it may have a better 
chance of favouring the ' Ay '. Even 
this word itself is a difficulty, for its 
complication between ' ay ' and ' ayes ', 
together with its infrequency except 
as an interjection, helps to confuse 
timid voters. More recently the ballot 
boxes have been bearing the legends 
'yes', 'no' the affirmative always 
preceding the negative. 

Black-bottle Scene (Dublin, 1822 
on). Black beer-bottle throwing at 
. obnoxious persons. 

On the 14th of December 1822, on the 
occasion of the Marquis Wellesley, visit- 
ing the Theatre Eoyal, Dublin, an 
organized disturbance on the part of 
the Orangemen took place, in resent- 
ment of his Excellency's sympathy with 
Catholic Emancipation. The affray is 
always referied to as the 'black-bottle' 
riot ; a black bottle having been flung 
at the Viceroy by an Orangeman in the 
top gallery. Newsp. Cutting. 

On any other occasion the incident 

might have passed unnoticed, but now 
the rumour of a ' black bottle ' scene 
was in every one's mind. A . M. 
Sullivan, 1877. 

Black Eye (American, political and 
social). A reverse, especially political. 

A black eye for Platt. An Albany 
jury has decided that Governor Hill was 
right, and Quarantine Commissioner 
Platt wrong, and that the latter has all 
along been a resident of Owega, while 
holding office in New York. N. Y. 
Mercury. 15th January 1888. 

Often used to designate theatrical 

This inheritance proved a black eye 
to all concerned, because the new com- 
pany lacked all the vocal and comedy 
requisites for a successful interpretation 
of this very popular work. 

Black Ivory (Slave - dealers). A 
disguised way of referring to negro 

Mr Steyn, a former Landdrost of 
Potchefstroom, in both letters and 
speeches, complained that 'loads of 
"black ivory" were being constantly 
hawked about the country'. F. W. 
Chesson, in D. N., 5th November 1883. 

Black Jack ( 1 9 cent. ). A black port- 
manteau of peculiar make. 

William Wall deposed that he 
repaired the portmanteau produced, 
and recognised Burton as the man who 
brought it. Burton also brought another 
second-hand portmanteau called in the 
trade ' Black Jack '. Dynamite Case 
Report, 4th March 1885. 

Blackleg (Labour, 1889-90). A 
non-striker in industry. Blackleg had 
long been used for a swindler, but at 
this date it was first applied to non- 
Union men or non -strikers. Directly 
used in relation to the dock-strikes. 
Common to the labouring classes by 
June 1890. 

It will be seen from the full report 
of the situation, which we print else- 
where, that the present stage of the 
conflict turns on the presence of the 
' blackleg ', to use the designation which 
the Dock labourers first popularised. 
Chaos in the Post Office, in D. N., 10th 
July 1890. 

Black Maria (Thieves', 19 cent.). 
The prison van, probably Anglicizing 
'Black V.R.', this public conveyance 
being ink-coloured, and bearing V.R. 
on each side of it. To the ignorant 
V.R. would have no meaning; while 
Maria would ; or it may be a rhyming 
effort. The New York prison van, 


Black-silk Barges 

though of course very different from the 
English carriage, bears the same name. 

He 'protested' against entering the 
Black Maria, and on the way up ' would 
not admit' that he was going to the 
Workhouse, but by this time he prob- 
ably feels at home up there. N. Y. 
Police Report, 1883. 

Upon the death of Queen Victoria, 
necessarily the initials on the prison 
van were changed to E.R. the term 
for the vehicle, however, still remain- 
ing. A phrase was immediately found 
for E.R. Energy Rewarded a term 
accepted by even the nation, with 
applause. ( See V. R. , Virtue Rewarded, 
Vagabonds Removed, Sardine Box.) 

Black-silk Barges (Ball - room). 
Stout women who ought to avoid 
dances. They dress in black silk 
to moderate in appearance their 

'It's time I sounded a retreat from 
dancing I've had to dance with 
seventeen black-silk barges this blessed 
evening. Never again never again.' 

Black Strap (Peoples', Old English). 
Port wine. A corruption of ' black 
stirrup ' cup. Sherry or sack (the first 
a corruption of Xeres, the second, an 
abbreviation, was always white wine ; 
clarets and burgundies red ; port black). 
The stirrup cup was always potent. 
The passage from black stirrup to 
black strap is too evident when port 
came amongst the people more 
accustomed to strap than the stirrup. 
To this day strap is used for port. 

Blank please (American). A 
negative euphemism for the unending 
' damned ' with a polite request 

. . . that matter - of - fact business 
manager of ours says that, although we 
may put what we blank please in the 
editorial columns, he won't put a six- 
inch display in the advertising end of 
the paper for less than several hundred 
dollars cash, quarterly in advance. 
Texas Siftings. 

Blarney (Irish). Flattery. The 
Blarney stone is a protruding one, 
standing out from below a ruined 
window of ruined Blarney Castle 
(near Cork). Whoever kisses this 
stone, a very difficult feat, and one 
which requires help and strong hold- 
ing hands while the aspirant leans 
over and down into space, is supposed 
to possess for ever after the gift of 
successful flattery. 

The traditions respecting the kissing 
of the Blarney stone, to impart to the 
devotee a peculiar suavity of speech, is 
about three hundred years old. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Blase (Fr., 1840). Wearied, bored. 
Brought to England with a farce 
called L'Homme Blast, subsequently 
produced for Wright (Princess Theatre), 
in which version this actor was called 
Blase. Succeeded by 'bored' about 

Bleed (Peoples'). A perversion of 
the word 'blood', as She'll have 
his bleed' usually said of a woman 
who is rating her husband. 

Blenheim Cloud (Polit.). The 
influence of the Dukes of Marlborough 
over Woodstock, which lies in the 
shadow of Blenheim. 

Against this the more sanguine point 
to the advantage of being free from 
what they call 'the Blenheim cloud', 
the Duke having formally declared that 
he takes no part in this election, and 
that all his people are free to vote as 
they choose. D. N., 1st July 1885. 

Blenheim Pippin, The (Polit., 

1883). An application of the name 
of a known variety of pippins, always 
a small apple, to describe Lord 
Randolph Churchill, a diminutive 
man, who, as a son of a Duke of 
Marlborough, was associated with 
Blenheim, the family seat in Oxford- 

. . . the Tories are, as a rule, fol- 
lowers of the strongest ; and after the 
Blenheim Pippin's latest manifesto they 
will hardly know whether to throw in 
their lot with Tweedledum or Tweedle- 
dee. Entr'acte, 7th April 1883. 

Bless me soul (Peoples'). Bless me 
Saul. Probably one of the few 
Puritanic exclamations all of which 
were Biblical, * Bless me, or my, soul ' 
is nonsense, as it stands for who 
blesses ? Hence probably arose ' God 
bless my soul '. But this phrase is 
also meaningless, for the soul needs no 
blessing. ' God bless me ' is reason- 
able. But here, ' soul ' is the important 
word. In this conversation it should 
be remembered that Saul was held in 
high Puritanic esteem as a patriarch 
of much power. 

Blessing (Irish). Gratuity. Poetic 
way of putting it ; will contrast with 
'backsheesh' (q.v.) 'Sure, he's a man 
gives me a blessing every time he 


Blew, To 


passes without pretending not to see 
me, he does.' In Devonshire a 
'blessing' is a handful thrown in, 
e.g., 'Plase to give' us a half-peck o' 
pays, and give us a blessing.' 

Blew, To (Com. Land.). To 
dissipate. This word is by no means 
to ' blow ', but is suggested by ' blue '. 
* I blewed ' (or ' blew ') means ' I 
spent', and probably is suggested by 
the dismal blue appearance of a man, 
penniless and recovering from a 
drunken fit. The word was turned 
to very droll account by a comic- 
singer, Herbert Campbell, in 1881. 
A medicinal pad to be worn over the 
liver was very much advertised ; and 
a half life-size cut of a masculine and 
healthy patient with the 'liver pad* 
in situ created a great deal of comment. 
The singer put both together and 
came out with a ballad. ' Herbert 
Campbell's favourite song now is 
called " Clara blued her Liver Pad" ', 
meaning that she had sold her speci- 
men and spent the proceeds in drink 
for you only ' blew ' money when you 
do spend it in drink. 

In about an hour he reached the 
Strand, and in less than another hour 
he had blewed his half-a-dollar, so he 
sat on a doorstep and wept as only boys 
who have run away from home and 
have got the stomach-ache can weep. 

Blewed his red 'un (Peoples'). 
'Red 'un' is an anglicization of 
' redding ' (a thieves') word for a 
watch, probably the name of a watch- 
receiver. The phrase therefore means 
' Spent in drink the money raised on 
his watch.' Here brevity is indeed 

Blighter (TJieat., 1898). An actor 
of evil omen : it took the place of 
Jonah (q.v.). 

'I never care about acting in a play 
which is likely to fail. Look at Jones. 
Splendid actor, but he has been con- 
nected with so many failures that he 
has got to be known, as a blighter, and 
no one will engage him.' Cutting. 

Blind Hookey (Peoples'). A leap 
in the dark; e.g., 'Oh, it's Blind 
Hookey to attempt it.' From a card 
game. The centre card is the banker's 
the players put money against either 
of the four other cards. If the dealer's 
centre card is the highest of the five 
he takes all the bets. If his card is 
the lowest, he pays all four. 

Blink. See Bit o' blink. 

Blister, To (Peoples', 1890 on). 
To punish with moderation : a modi- 
fication of 'to pound'; e.g., Til blister 
'im when I ketch 'im' a promise of 
listing. Used chiefly by cabmen in 
relation to magisterial fines, e.g., 'I 
was blistered at Bow Street to-day for 
twenty hog.' 

Blizzard Collar (Soc., 1897). A 
high stand-up collar to women's 
jackets, coats. Suggestive of cold 

I must mention the very pretty Russian 
vests of fur that our elegantes have now 
adopted. They are tightly fitting, and 
fasten on the side ; they have a short 
basque all round, a blizzard collar, and 
a fancy belting of jewelled enamelled 
plaques. D. T., 16th January 1897. 

Bloater (Peoples'). An abbrevia- 
tion of Yarmouth bloater : a fat 
person. From the fact that the first 
smoking process applied to the herring 
results in a remarkable swelling, which 
afterwards abates. 

If intended for immediate eating, the 
herring is taken down after one firing, 
when it is swelled and puffed out like a 
roasted apple. It is then known to the 
true East Anglian as a blowen-herring 
the word bloater is rejected by philo- 
logists at a foreign corruption and here 
you probably have the true etymology 
of the familiar word. Yarmouth, by 
W. Norman (Yarmouth, 1883). 

Blob (Cricket, 1898). No runs. 
' Blob ' has taken the place of ' duck ', 
or ' duck's egg '. 

Block (Scotch Thieves', 1868). A 
policeman in one syllable. 

I think it would be a good idea for 
my mother to get the block privately 
and make an appeal to him ; he would 
have a little feeling for her, I think. 
Dundee garotter's letter, 1868. 

Block (Linen Drapers'). A name 
applied curiously to the young lady of 
fine shape who in the mantle depart- 
ment tries on for the judgment of the 
lady customer. 

Block a quiet pub. (Peoples'). To 
stop a long time in a tavern ; e.g., 'I 
don't care for theayters or sing-songs ; 
but I like to block a quiet pub. ', said 
the commercial ; i.e., to remain quietly 
drinking in an out-of-the-way public 
house. Generally said of a sot. 

Bloke (Lower Classes, 19 cent). A 
friendly soul, inclined to be charitable. 


Bloody Carpet Rags 

This word has not the objectionable 
meaning it is often supposed to possess. 
On the contrary, it is mighty affec- 
tionate ; e.g., 'Got a bit o' bacca, 
bloke ? ' if asked you in the streets 
is by no means offensively said. It is 
less than 'gentleman', more than 
' mate '. ' He's a proper bloke ' is 
simply a paean. 

Bloke is also a lover, or even an 

Master Edward Graham, aged eight, 
and Miss Sarah King, aged nine, 
appeared at Bow Street as inseparable 
and incorrigible beggars in the Strand. 
' Sally and her bloke ' is said to be the 
unpoetical designation of the pair in the 
Strand. D. N., 1882. 

In universities, an outsider, a mere 
book-grubber, e.g. , 'Balliol mere blokes. 
But they carry off everything.' (See 
Old Put, Muff.) 

Blood (Old). By our Lord one of 
the old Catholic exclamations. 

Blood it is almost enough to make 
my daughter undervalue my sense. 
Fielding, Tom Jones, bk. vii., ch. 4. 

The extended form is ' bloody ' 
by our lady an asseveration referring 
to the Virgin, which becomes an 
apostrophe in the shape 'What the 
bloody hell' 'By our lady, hail.' 
' What' thus appears to be a Protestant 
addition. About 1875, when the Lon- 
don School Board had influenced the 
metropolis for some half dozen years 
this word and phrase were super- 
seded by 'blooming', a sheer evasion 
which has survived the nineteenth 
century, and has quite passed into the 
lower layers of the language. In 18th 
century literature may be found the 
form ' blady hell ', which suggests the 
origin very forcibly. 

Some actors have been known to 
mutilate the speech in Macbeth, 'Be 
bloody, bold, and resolute', lest it 
should suggest the inconceivably wicked 
thought, 'Be bloody-bold, and resolute '. 
Now this extremely shocking word is 
nothing more nor less than a corruption 
of ' By'r lady '. How little do the dregs 
of our population, who, when they hurl 
out the word, imagine that it contains 
some frightful explosive, dream that 
they are appealing to the Virgin. D. T. 

Blood and 'ounds (Irish). Blood 
and wounds (Christ's) an old pro- 
nunciation rhyming with ' pounds ' ; 
e.g., 'Blood an' 'ounds how the 
blood runs out uv 'un thin.' This 
phrase is a good example of the 

anglicization of words whose original 
meanings are from various causes lost. 
Probably most of the Catholic adjura- 
tions have been applied in the same 
such manner as this. 

Blood Ball (London Tr.). The 
butchers' annual hopser, a very lusty 
and fierce-eyed function. The female 
contingent never wear crimson as 
being too trady. (See Bung Ball. ) 

Blood Hole (E. London, 1880). A 
theatre in Poplar. 

The irreverent ones of the district, 
whenever they mentioned the place, 
called it ' The Blood Hole 'in allusion, 
I presume, to the style of drama pre- 
sented. Newsp. Cutting. 

Blood or Beer (Street). A challenge 
to fight or stand, i.e., 'pay for' malt 
refreshment. A jocular phrase border- 
ing on bullying. Real fighting is 
inducted by the phrase ' Take off your 
coat ' ! This is serious. ' Come on, 
ruffian. It's blood or beer ' is simply 
friendly suggestion. 

Bloods (Lowest Glasses) Wall- 
flowers, from a not too clear association 
of colours. A higher figure of speech 
than Bugs (q.v.), but still painfully 
disgusting in association with this 
fresh - breathed blossom. ' Bloods, 
bloods penny a bunch, bloods.' 

Bloods (Navy). Sailor boys' title 
for ' Penny Dreadfuls '. 

They expect lots of blood, wonderful 
adventures, gruesome illustrations, and 
a good deal of cheap sentiment', and 
they get it. As they get older, their 
tastes change. Rev. G. Goodenough, 
Navy Chaplain. 

Blood-worms (London, 19 cent.). 
Sausages in general, but a black- 
pudding of boiled hog's blood in 
particular. 'S 'elp me sivvy, I've 
come down to blood- worms.' (See 
Sharp's Alley.) 

Bloody carpet rags (Amer., im- 
ported to Liverpool). A mutilated 

All of a sudden the burly coloured 
man drew a razor from his pocket and 
started for the light-weight with the 
remark that he'd make bloody carpet 
rags of him. Newsp. Gutting. 

It should be added that the razor 
is the American negro's favourite 
weapon, carried as a rule in a high 
boot something after the manner 
of a Scotch dirk in a Scotch sark. 


Blooming Emag 


Blooming Emag (Street, 1870). 
Back spelling : ' Emag ' is ' game '. 
Selfishness in its perfect degree. 

There nothing like cheek, yobs, what- 
ever you're blooming emag may be. 
But be honest, even if you have to go 
out nailing to be honest. Cutting. 

Blopmeration (London, 1891). Illu- 
mination. First heard 9th November 
at Prince of Wales' illuminations. 

Blooming little holiday (Lowest 
Peoples'). Saturnalia liberty to be 
free, to be perfectly tyrannical. 

An English defeat and panic, on 
English soil, would seem to the English 
rough the very beginning of the mil- 
lennium, or, in his own language, ' a 
blooming little holiday.' Newsp. Cutting) 

Blouser (obscure). To cover up, to 
hide, to render nugatory, e.g., 'Joe 
you won't blouser me V s From the 
French, evidently. Probably used in 
an anti - Gallican spirit, when the 
blouse first appeared to cover over 
an honest Englishman's waistcoat ; or 
it may be from the court of Charles II. 

The Army is warned that the clergy 
will try to 'blouser' or mislead them, 
and to persuade people to refuse the use 
of halls, while all the time professing 
interest in the Army's holy labours. 
Newsp. Cutting (about 1881). 

Blow (Peoples'}. To boast from the 
noise made when a whale blows water 
through and up from the nostrils, with 
much noise. Introduced by sailors in 
the whale trade, common to England 
and America, and still surviving 
amongst the lower classes. A good 
example of a word arising from a new 
industry and passing away with it. 

About the veracity of big game 
shooters, one is sometimes obliged to 
feel now and then a lingering doubt. 
They might remind an Australian reader 
of ' him who tried to blow ', in a well- 
known line of a modern poet. ' Blow ', 
it may be necessary to explain, is the 
Australian equivalent for 'brag' or 
4 boast '. Thus Othello ' blew ' in the 
account of his adventures with which 
he obliged Desdemona. D. N., 25th 
February 1885. 

' Blow ' and ' blow upon ' are some- 
times still used in their old form, in 
the sense of to expose or betray. 

All he asks is to pass him along his 
plate with whatever happens to be handy 
round the pantry, and he won't go away 
and blow how poor the steak is. He 

just eats whatever is set before him, and 
asks no questions. Cutting. 

Blow me tight (Peoples'). Below 
me with a firm hand that is, sent to 
Hades. Used generally as a protest 
on the part of the speaker, and an 
assurance of truth. Generally followed 
by 'if, and sometimes 'but'. He 
means that he is willing to be damned 
if he lies. 

It was reckoned out we'd get to 
Brighton at six o'clock last Saturday, 
blow me tight. Cutting. 

Blow-out (Peoples'). Dissipation 
literally stretching the digestive 

At the end of a month a miner finds 
himself in possession of from 25 to 30, 
and, as a corollary, has what he calls ' a 
blow-out'. Newsp. Cutting, 1883. 

Blowing (Thieves'). 'A pick- 
pocket's trull ', quotes Byron in a 
note to the line ' Who on a lark 
with black-eyed Sal (his blowing)' 
(Don Juan, ca. xi. st. 19). Some- 
times ' blowen '. 

Blowsa-bella (TJieat. 18 cent.). A 
vulgar, self-assertative woman, gener- 
ally stout. Blowsa is probably from 
the French ' blouser ', a verb got from 
' blouse ', meaning to attract by 
gutter arguments. Bella is of course 
an abbreviation of Isabella, and the 
whole phrase probably would mean 
a vulgar woman of the people giving 
herself false airs of grandeur. The 
Daily News (22nd Feb. 1883) throws 
perhaps some light on the word in 
reference to the Salvation Army. 

Bluchers (Mid. Class-, 1815 on). 
Plural of blucher, referring to the 
commonest of boots. From General 
von Bliicher, the Prussian general-in- 
chief at the battle of Waterloo. 
When some clever bootmaker invented 
the now extinct Wellington boots, a 
humble imitator followed with the 
handy Blucher, and made quite a 
large fortune out of this idea and 
the boots the most frequent name 
for workmen's boots known to Britons, 
who have found this manufacture a 
handy weapon. (See Wellingtons.) 

Blue (Old English). Dismal 
evidently from the appearance of the 
countenance when showing anxiety or 
mistrust as distinct from red anger. 
In this sense it is used in U.S.A. to 


Blue Blanket 

Blue Moon 

this day ; e.g., 'This news will make 
our return to Yonkers rather blue', 
i.e., melancholy. It will be found 
temp. George III. in a ballad, 
published in Dublin by Trojanus 
Laocoon, called The All -devouring 
Monster ; or New Five per t, a 
satirical work which attacked a pro- 
ject, dating from England, of course, 
to put a duty of 5 per cent, upon 
all imports. Here is a triplet from 
the ballad in question : 
The effects of the Tax will soon make 

us look Blue, 
Its nature, its drift being known but 

to few ; 
Reverse of the Glass Act this all men 

saw through. 

In England, 19th century, 'blue' 
has been abandoned as describing 
melancholy, owing to its new meaning 
one of vulgar, coarse, double en- 
tendre', e.g., 'Have you got any new 
blue?' may be asked by one who 
is athirst for erotic entertainment. 
Perhaps comes in some obscure way 
from the French, where a bluette 
certainly means a short song, which 
skirts the wind of impropriety. The 
earlier meaning of blue is however still 
sometimes applied. 
And yet, though things are all so blue, 

it's funny, 

My missus never lets me blue the money. 
Elephant and Castle pantomime, 1882. 

Blue Blanket (Peoples', 19 cent.). 
The sky. 'I slept under the blue 
blanket last night. (See Bengal 

Blue Caps (Indian Mutiny, 1857). 
Dublin Fusiliers. 

The Dublin Fusiliers are 'The Blue 
Caps'. A despatch of Nana Sahib was 
intercepted, in which he referred to 
' those blue-capped English soldiers who 
fight like devils '. The name stuck. At 
the Siege of Lucknow the bridge of 
Char Bagh was raked by four guns and 
defended on the flanks by four others. 
'Who is to carry it?' asked Outram. 
' My Blue Caps ', replied Havelock ; and 
they did. Rev. E. J. Hardy. 

Blue Damn. Evasive swearing. 
Celestial curse the blue referring to 
the sacred purple blood of the Crucified. 

Blue Funk (Pub. Sch.). Absolute 
panic from the leaden colour of the 
skin when the owner is beyond ques- 
tion afraid. 

Of Mr Weedon Grossmith's assumption 


it may be further said that it is calcu- 
lated to develop his most approved strain 
of humour, which in schoolboy parlance 
is known as blue funk. People, 28th 
February 1897. 

He will, no doubt, tell people at home 
that he left the Soudan because he was 
invalided. That is not the case. He 
left us because he was in a blue funk. 
D. T., 6th July 1897. 

Blue Grass (Amer.). People of 
Kentucky from the peculiar tint of 
the grass. 

The Kentucky correspondent of the 
Cincinnati News - Journal is evidently 
hard hit. This is what he writes : When 
the Bona Dea, out of her bounteousness, 
makes a Bluegrass woman, she takes care 
never to spoil the job. A soft, white, 
warm body, translucent with divine 
light, and curving to lines of beauty 
as naturally as the tendrils of a vine, 
is the groundwork upon which nature 
limits the human angel. . . . The brow 
of Juno and the bust of Hebe ; the sea- 
nymph's pearly ear, the wood-nymph's 
springy step these are a few of the 
charms nature gives the maiden of the 
Bluegrass. Newsp. Cutting. 

Even accepted as the title of a paper. 

Blasphemous Libel. Louisville (Ky.), 
21st April. Mr C. E. Moore, Editor of a 
newspaper, published here, known as 
The Blue Grass Blade, and who has been 
in prison for the last fortnight. Newsp. 

Blue Grass Belle. A Kentuckian 

While down in Kentucky last Fall, 
buying horses, he tipped a wink at a 
blue grass belle. Newsp. Cutting. 

Blue-handled Rake. The railing 
and steps leading to the platform of 
a fair-booth stage. 

Blue Hen's Chick (Devonshire). A 
clever soul, e.g., 'You're a blue hen's 
chick hatched behind the door ' said 

Blue Jack (Nautical). Cholera 
morbus from the colour of the skin 
in this disease. (See Yellow Jack.) 

Blue-jacket (Peoples', 19 cent.). A 
sailor given from the colour of jacket. 
(See Lobster, Robin Redbreast.) 

Blue Moon (General, in all classes). 
Absolutely lost in mystery, but prob- 
ably an Anglicism of a word or words 
with which neither ' blue ' nor ' moon ' 
has anything to do. It imports 
indefinite futurity. Possibly meaning 

Blue Noses 

Blue Roses 

' never ', because a blue moon is never 

' I ain't a going to make a speech ', 
said he, in a voice husky with emotion, 
' because if I was to jaw till a blue moon 
I couldn't tell you more about her we've 
been and buried than you know already.' 
'Cadgers in Mourning', D. T., 8th 
February 1863. 

Blue Noses (American). Canadians 
obviously from the force of sharp 
weather on the Canadian nose. Prob- 
ably contemptuous. 

In Nova Scotia, has died a centenarian 
who had fought under Nelson and under 
Wellington. Did a grateful people 
follow the hero to the grave with proud 
tears? Not much. John Aberton was 
buried in a rough box on the day he 
died. There were no prayers, no funeral 
procession, no formalities, but the old 
patriot received the burial of a dog. 
This ought to make recruiting brisk in 
Canada and incite the blue noses to 
volunteer in a mass to defend Queen 
Victoria's codfish. N. Y. Mercury, 1st 
January 1895. 

Blue o'clock in the morning 
(Street}. Pre-dawn, when black sky 
gives way to purple. Rhyming fancy, 
suggested by two o'clock in the morn. 
Suggestive of rollicking late hours. 

The birdcatcher has often to be up 
f at blue o'clock in the morning '. The 
rime is on the grass when he lays his 
nets. It is bitterly cold standing about 
in the fields. D. N. t 12th October 1886. 

Blue Pencil (To) (Theat., 1885 on). 
Cutting down literature first applied 
to dramatic pieces. From the colour 
of the pencil used. c More blue pencil ', 
said Mr Tree it is the only way of 
writing a successful piece. 

The actor will have a better chance 
after the blue pencil has eliminated the 
unnecessary verbiage in the dialogue. 
D. N. y 17th February 1899. 

Blue Pig (Maine, U.S.A. ). Whisky. 
Maine is a temperance state, therefore 
liquor has to be asked for under various 
strange names, which have generally 
been satirically distinguished by a 
strange contradiction in their com- 
ponent parts, as in this instance. The 
phrase common in Liverpool. 

There have been remarkable animals 
discovered in Maine before now to wit, 
striped and blue pigs and Japanese dogs 
of scarlet hue. These creatures, however, 
have usually been found to be of the 
genus stalking - horse that is, they 
merely served as screens for the sale 
of prohibited intoxicating fluids. D. N. 


Blue Ribbonite (M. Class, 1880). 
A sort of pun between 'nite' and 
'knight', and one which gave the 
phrase rapid popularity. Outcome of 
the custom of wearing a blue ribbon 
on left breast of coat to demonstrate 
that the wearer was an abstainer. 

With respect to the inconsistencies in 
the man who married Miss Dash drinking 
champagne and port, it should be 
remembered that he had not taken the 
pledge, and that he was concealing his 
identity. Besides, he said before the 
wedding breakfast that he was almost 
a blue-ribbonite Brighton Bigamy Case, 
20th and 24th October 1885. 

Blue Ribbon Fakers (London, 
1882). The progress of abstinence 
principles, practically started by 
Father Mathews (1815-71), is very 
interesting. The original abstainers 
made no daily public parade of their 
principles, and were not forbidden 
to associate with men who drank 
fermented liquors, or to have * drinks ' 
in the house, or to pay for drinks. 
Then followed the Good Templars 
(1860), who prohibited their followers 
from paying for others' alcoholic 
drinks, from having liquor in the 
house, or entering a tavern, even to 
buy a biscuit, but they showed no 
visible signs of their temperance. Then 
came the Blue Ribbon Army who 
(1882) instituted the daily assertion 
of their principles by wearing a scrap 
of bright blue ribbon in the left breast 
buttonhole of the coat. Street satirists 
dubbed them Blue Ribbon fakers. 

The Blue Ribbon fakers may say 
what they fair like, but there are times 
when good brandy is new life ask the 
squirts. About 1896 these blue ribbons 
became in some degree unpopular with 
abstainers, and were discarded. But 
so far no abstinence supporters had 
tabooed tobacco. It remained for the 
Salvation Army to add to all the 
abstinence principles hitherto adopted 
that of the rejection of tobacco in all 
its forms. As they operated chiefly 
amongst youths, their success as anti- 
tobacconalians was considerable. So 
far moderation or abstinence in rela- 
tion to animal food has not yet been 
advanced but it must follow in due 

Blue Roses (Literary). Unattain- 
able sometimes blue dahlias, or 
tortoise-shell Tom cat, equal to squar- 

Blue 'Un 


ing the circle. Blue roses is the most 
poetical of these phrases. 

The blue cloud of a fame beyond 
Core's reach floated ever before him ; 
he was eternally allured by the blue 
roses of an impossible success. D. N., 
25th June 1885. 

Blue 'un (Sporting). A journal 
named Winning Post so named from 
its tint, no doubt given to enter the 
ranks with the * Pink 'un ' and ' Brown 
'un' (see) all three fine examples of 
language produced by the habitually 
obvious, and of the tendency to shorten 
frequent phrases. Technically, blue 
'un is a learned woman. 

The application of the term to women, 
originated with Miss Hannah Moore's 
admirable description of a ' Blue Stock- 
ing Club' in her 'Bas Bleu'. Mill. 

Bluchers (London). Outsider cabs, 
not allowed, except upon emergency, 
to enter railway termini probably 
in contradistinction to Wellingtons, 
just aa the Wellington boot was the 
aristocratic foot-covering the Blucher 
that of the general. The Blucher boot 
survives ; the Wellington is a fossil. 

It appears that when there is a 
deficiency of cabs at any station, outside 
or non-registered vehicles are called in 
on payment of a penny for the right of 
taking stand in the yard. With a nice 
regard for history, the drivers of these 
' understudy ' cabs are, in the vernacular 
of the fraternity, dubbed 'Bluchers'. 
D. T., 'Cab Strike', 23rd May 1894. 

Bluff (Californian, 1849 on). To 
humbug, hector, bully, from an 
American card-game wherein the 
player sheerly seeks to domineer over 
his opponent, and gain by sheer 
audacity, without absolute reference 
to the cards he (the bluffer) holds. 
Probably from 'bluff', Californian for 
cliff; the word suggesting tall 

'I bluffed 'im for a hour, but 'e 
wouldn't 'ave it at not no price. Mr 
Newton, the magistrate at Maryborough 
Street observed : This is a case of bluff. 
Sir George Lewis : If you have made 
up your mind, I will retire from the case. 
Mr Newton: Can you contradict the 
constables ? People, 3rd October 1895. 

Tom Gossage afforded in his own 
character and habits an amusing 
example of how a man could get 
imbued with the peculiar vice of the 
time and that was the game of brag 
brag and the hard old vices of its 
kindred bluff and poker. Newsp. 

Bluffer (Californian, 1849 on). The 
noun followed the verb very rapidly. 

The stranger went away and returned 
with the bluffer. Newsp. Cutting. 

Bobby (Scottish). A faithful person 
abbreviation of Greyfriars Bobby, 
who has become a household word in 
the Canongate, Edinburgh. He was 
a devoted little terrier who kept watch 
and ward for a dozen years over the 
grave of his unknown master, buried 
in the strangers' corner of Greyfriars 
Cemetery, Edinburgh. Lady, then 
Miss Burdett Coutts, was so touched 
by this fidelity that she erected a little 
monument to his memory. ' Hey, 
mon, nae mair thanks, or maybe ye'll 
be getting the name o' Bobbie.' 

Bobby Atkins . See Tommy Atkins. 

Bobby's Labourers ( Volunteers, 
1868). Name given to special con- 
stables, chiefly volunteers, during this 
year one of Fenian alarm upon the 
principle that the s.c's did the work 
of the policemen that is ' bobby'. 

Bob, Harry and Dick (Rhyming, 
1868). Sick disguised way of 
admitting a crushed condition, the 
morn following a heavy drink. (See 

Bobolink (American). A talkative 
person, from being like a bird of this 
name. Abbreviation of Bob o' 

This is the way somebody translates 
the bobolink's libretto : ' Chink a link, 
chink a link, tink tink, tinkle tootle, 
Tom Denny, Tom Denny, come pay me, 
with your chink a link, tinkle linkle, 
toodle loodle, popsidoodle, see, see, 
see ! ' making not the slightest pause 
from beginning to end. 

Bobs (Soc., passing to People, 1900). 
Plural of Bob, exactly as Roberts is 
the plural of Robert hence the 
genesis of the familiar name for 
General Roberts. Bobs was much 
applied in this year, especially to 
smart Irish terriers. B.P. (passing to 
Bups), was also in great vogue of 
course the initials of General Baden 
Powell. This pluralising of nick- 
names had been growing for years. 

Mr Ernest Wells, one of the founders 
and managers of the Pelican Club, and 
familiarly known in sporting, dramatic, 
and literary circles by his journalistic 
pseudonym of ' Swears ', has, etc. D. T., 
25th July 1900. 

Tales, old Chestnuts, Hairs, Pots, 




Pumps, were some of the plural nick- 
names in use about this period. 
If a limber's slipped a trace, 

'Ook on Bobs ; 
If a marker's lost 'is place, 

Dress by Bobs ; 
For 'e's eyes all up 'is coat, 
An' a bugle in 'is throat, 
An' you will not play the goat, 
Under Bobs. 

Rudyard Kipling. 

Bobtail (Peoples'). Name given 
early in the 19th century to the 
dandies who wore the pointed tail- 
coats which followed the wide skirts of 
the 18th century, tails which must 
have been very striking. Name still 
given to a waiter by common classes. 
(See Claw-hammer.) 

Bobtail (Irish). Appealing to the 
masses, to the passing penny. Irish, 
and probably dating from the intro- 
duction of the swallow-tail coat from 
England doubtless despised at first, 
but still retained by the peasantry. 

Boucicault said ' I introduced The Poor 
of Liverpool a bobtail piece with local 
scenery and Mr Cowper in the principal 
part (Badger). I share after 30 a night, 
and I am making 100 a week on the 
damned thing. I localise it for each 
town, and hit the public between the 
eyes ; so they see nothing but fire. I 
can spin out these rough-and-tumble 
dramas as easily as a hen lays eggs. It's 
a degrading occupation, but more money 
has been made out of guano than out 
of poetry.' 

Body Lining (Drapers'). Bread 
very opposite, lining in this trade 
being what goes inside the bodice (or 
body) of a dress. 'Pass me half a 
yard of body -lining.' Body -lining 
itself is a strong twill. 

Body Snatcher (Street, London, 
1840-1860). A cabman from the 
habit, before higher civilization 
amongst cabmen prevailed, of snatch- 
ing their victim-patrons. Suggested 
by that other body-snatcher the 
resurrection - man, who was but a 
memory in 1840. 

Bohemian Bungery (Strand 
District). Public -house patronized by 
struggling authors. Bohemian having 
been introduced by Murger for a 
fighting author, artist, or musician, 
and the tea-pot brigade having dubbed 
a licensed victualler a bung, from that 
adjunct to the beer barrel this phrase 


became one of the results of time. 
The Nell Gwynne was once a Bohemian 

Bohemian down to his boots (Art 
and Lit.). Bohemian in excelsis. 
' He is a . . . such as they are ' 
that is ' the boots '. 

At that time a young man, Nelson 
Kneass, a scion of an old and proud 
family, was horrifying ' society ' by going 
round blacking his face as a negro 
minstrel. He was a brother of District 
Attorney Kneass, of this city, was highly 
educated, but was a 'Bohemian down 
to his boots '. N. Y. Mercury, 15th 
January 1888. 

Boiled Owl (People's). Drunk 
as a boiled owl. Here there is no 
common sense whatever, nor fun, wit, 
nor anything but absurdity. Prob- 
ably another instance of a proper 
name being changed to a common or 
even uncommon word. May be drunk 
as Abel Doyle which would suggest 
an Irish origin like many incom- 
prehensible proverbs too completely 

It is a well-known fact in natural 
history that a parrot is the only bird 
which can sing after partaking of wines, 
spirits, or beer ; for it is now universally 
agreed by all scientific men who have 
investigated the subject that the expres- 
sion, ' Drunk as a boiled owl ' is a gross 
libel upon a highly respectable teetotal 
bird which, even in its unboiled state, 
drinks nothing stronger than rain-water. 
D. T., 12th December 1892. 

Also whitish, washed-out counten- 
ance, with staring sleepy eyes. 

Both were admirably made up, and 
Twiss had just the boiled-owlish appear- 
ance that is gained by working all night 
in a printing-office. Ref., 31st May 

(See Dead as O'Donnel, Smithereens.) 

Boiled Shirt (Middle Class). Clean, 
white from the fact that if the shirt 
is not boiled it remains dull grey. W. 
America, but common in England. 

' Waal now, say, you with the boiled 
shirt. What did Miss Maslam reply 
when you put the question?' Newsp. 
Gutting, 1897. 

Boko (Common). A huge nese. 
Corruption of ' beaucoup ', the ' o' being 
national and preferred to the French 
' ou '. Said to be descended from the 
time of Grimaldi, who would observe 
while 'joey-ing' (g.v.) 'C'est beau- 
coup', and tapping his nose. The 


Bono Johnny 

phrase still remains, Anglicised, for a 
rough observing to another rough of a 
third gentleman's nose, will make the 
statement, ' I say boko ! ' When one 
Espinosa, a French dancer, came to 
London (1858), the size of his wonderful 
nose drew so much gallery observation 
of 'boko' that Mr J. Oxenford, in the 
Times, especially referred to the organ 
and assumed it was art. Thereupon, 
Espinosa wrote explaining that the 
nose in question was un don de la 

He was as thin and pale as a coffee 
palace bit of roast beef, and his boko 
was as high and red as the sun on a 
foggy morning. 

If he thought he had a black spot on 
his boko he'd go into convulsions. 

Boko-smasher (Street}. For elucida- 
tion of this elegant occupation see Boko. 

Bolt -upright (Peoples'). A good 
example of graphic application. From 
the rigidity of a bolt, e.g., 'he was 
bolt-upright, mum and were so all the 
time, as 'is dear father was a-thrashin' 
of him.' 

Bolted to the Bran (Polit.). 
Thoroughly sifted one of the few 
puns or jocular phrases of which Glad- 
stone could ever be accused. 

Now the great questions are initiated, 
discussed, sifted, ' bolted to the bran ', 
to use an expression more than once 
adopted by Mr Gladstone, before they 
come formally under the notice of the 
House of Commons. D.N.. 12th August 

Bombast (Hist.). Windy words 
from Bumbast the word, with a double 
entendre used for the material for 
stuffing out trunk hose, 16th and 17th 

When I came to unrip and unbumbast 
this Gargantuan bag-pudding, I found 
nothing in it but dog's tripes. Gabriel 

I. Disraeli says 'Bombast was the 
tailors' term in the Elizabethan era 
for the stuffing of horse-hair or wool 
used for the large breeches then in 
fashion hence the term was applied 
to high-sounding phrases "all sound 
and fury, signifying nothing".' 

Bone (London, 1882). A thin man. 
Hence 'The bone has made a remark.' 
(Surrey Pantomime, London, 1882.) 

Bone-clother (Medical}. Port wine 

which is popularly supposed to in- 
duce muscle. 

Bone Idle (Scottish}. Could not be 
more so. Probably the one atom of 
slang, if this can be called slang, which 
Carlyle exercised ; may be found in a 
letter to his mother (15th Feb. 1847). 
' I have gone bone idle these four weeks 
and more, and have been well done to 
every way.' 

Bone-shaker (Youths^ 1870 on). 
The earliest bicycle which tried to 
break bones incessantly. 

Bone-shop (Lower Classes). Work- 
house another of the more figurative 
and satirical names for this establish- 
ment. Here it refers presumably and 
untruly to the nature of the nourish- 
ment as producing nothing visible over 
the pauper bones. 

' Two of 'em lives in the blooming bone- 
shop and the other little devil is in the 
small-pox hospital.' 

Boner Nochy (Clerkenwell ; Italian 
quarter). Good-night imitated by 
the Clerkenwellians, from the bona 
notte of the Italians in Eyre Street 
Hill, Little Bath Street, and Hatton 
Garden ; or it may be from the 
Spanish 'noche' through the U.S.A. 

'In any case', said Don Miguel, 
rising and preparing to retire for the 
night, ' in any case, can you wonder that 
I hate the Argentine, and everything 
connected with it ? Buenas noches, 
senor ! ' Ev. News, 9th December 1898. 

Bonner (Oxford f er'). Bonfire. 
This specimen of 'er' shows a spice 
of satirical wit, for it is suggestive of 
Bishop Bonner, who certainly lit up 
many bonfires Smithfield way. 

Bonnet (Lower Class). To smash 
another's hat over the eyes. From 
French (bonnet - a cap), and time 
Charles II. Bonnet passed into hat, 
but 'to bonnet' went sliding down 
until now it is in the gutter. (See 
Cloak, In his sleeve, Shawl.) 

Bonny Robby (Provincial). Pretty 
but frail girl, probably from ' buona 
roba ' common in the time and court 
of Charles II. 

DRUG : There visits me a rich young 
widow ? FACE : A bona roba ? 
Garrick's Alel Drugger. 

Bono Johnny (Pigeon Chinese). A 
good fellow. A Chinese invention ; 
used by English sailors as warrant of 
good intentions. 




Bonse (School). Head. 'Lookout, 
or I'll fetch you a whack across the 
bonse '. 

Boo; Boo-ers (Theatrical, 1900). 
First-night gallery critics who replaced 
the goose (hissing) by ' booing ' 
probably because it was easier and 
more secretive. 

Who would have thought, when an ill- 
mannered gallery ' booed ' Mr Kerker's 
sparkling entertainment more than 
twelve months ago that it would achieve 
an unparalleled success at the Shaftes- 
bury? D. T., 9th May 1899. 

(See Wreckers.) 

Boobies' Hutch (Military, 19 cent. ). 
A drinking point in barracks, which, 
under certain circumstances, is open 
after canteen is closed. Satire prob- 
ably upon the fools who have never 
had enough. 

Boodle (Liverpool). One of the 
New York terms for money. Probably 
from the Dutch. 

Hangman ain't such a bad fellow. He 
always treats the boys after he receives 
'the boodle' from the Sheriff for send- 
ing an unfortunate to the other side ; 
although some folks are really afraid to 
go near him, and wouldn't even pass his 
house, I'd just as leave drink with him 
as I would with you. N. Y. Mercury, 
3rd May 1885. 

In vain did one of the American comic 
journals some time ago depict, with 
becoming scorn, a hoard of needy 
European nobles struggling for the 
possession of a dermire American beauty 
who bears a bag of what is locally known 
as ' boodle ', and in polite society as 
lucre, in her shapely arms. D. N., 
15th September 1890. 

Book-maker (Racing, 19 cent.). A 
professional betting man who makes 
a betting book upon every race, or 
about every race in a season. He lays 
against all horses. A bookmaker of 
position must make immense profits, 
under the two conditions of betting 
with men who can pay and with men 
who will accept all the conditions 
offered by the bookmaker. In fact, 
under these 'circs', he rarely loses, 
while the money he may make is 
almost limitless. Sometimes, however, 
when a favoiirite wins, the ' ring ' (that 
is the mass of betting men), is hit 

Bookie (Sporting, 1881). The 
endearing 'ie', common in Johnnie 

and chappie, adapted to bookmaker. 
The ' maker ' dropped the suffix 

Booking (Public School). Anything 
but for it is casting volumes from 
you as missiles at the enemy for the 
time being, e.g., 'Jannery split book 
him together ! ' 

It would be a pity to deprive them of 
the chance of such ' glorious fun ' as the 
' mobbing ' and ' booking ' (that is pelting 
with books) of the model school tyrant. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Boomerang (American, 1882). A 
vain folly, the consequence of which 
returns upon the perpetrator. This 
phrase is of course based upon the 
peculiar trajectory of the Australian 
boomerang, which, properly thrown, 
returns to the feet of the missile- 
thrower. In 1883 a play was pro- 
duced by Mr Daly in New York, 
with the title c 728 or Casting the 
Boomerang'. A New York dramatic 
critic in the course of an article upon 
this play, wrote: 'the various follies 
or boomerangs of the principal char- 
acters return in the course of the play 
to plague them '. 

Boomlet (City, 1896). A small 
' boom '. Satirical invention used to 
attack the prosperous enemy. 

Without troubling you with details, 
I may mention that during the recent 
West Australian boom or, as some of 
my Stock Exchange friends prefer to 
call it, 'boomlet' we succeeded in 
realising, etc. Mr H. Bottomley, 10th 
December 1897. 

Boomster (City, 1898). One who 

Boost (Liverpool - American). A 
hoist, toss, elevation from the mode 
of raising one in the world hurriedly, 
exercised by an angry bull or even 

The cowcumber kin be made an orna- 
ment, will stand in any climate, and the 
placques and chromos will encourage art 
and give a fresh boost to decoration. 

Boot (Tailors' and Bootmakers', 19 
cent. ). Money one of the trade 
applications to describe money 
just exactly as the grocer calls coin 
' sugar ' or the milkman ' cream '. 
'We've had the boot for that job.' 
Probably an abbreviation of 'beauti- 
ful', this being an obviously likely, 
vulgar, poetical naine for money. (See 

Booth Star 

Born Days 

Needful. ) Sometimes only a shilling. 
'Can I have the boot?' asked for 
at the end of a day's work. Indeed 
' boot ' in its most ordinary form is an 
advance on the weekly wages but one 
never under a shilling. The lower 
advance, sixpence, is called a slipper. 
Also used in the tailoring trade. A 
worker will say at closing time, 
' Please, sir, could you oblige me 
with the boot', while a more retiring 
soul would ask * Could I have a 
slipper, sir?' 

Booth Star (Minor Stage). Lead- 
ing actor or actress in a 'booth'. 
' Let me tell you a booth star is a 
good thing. You often get four parts 
a night. It is great experience and 
it is the first step to Drury Lane.' 

Booze (Low London). Intoxicants 
of all kinds, but particularly beer. 
May be from a name, but probably is 
an onomatope of quite modern date, 
from the boozing noise made by 
drunkards when falling off to sleep. 
Booze is drink in general boozy, the 
result of drinking slowly and tandem, 
also to sleep. 

At the hearing of the Southampton 
election petition, witness describing a 
procession of costermongers said : ' I 
heard some men shout that they wanted 
some more booze '. Mr Justice Wright : 
' What ? ' Mr Willis : < Booze, my lord, 
drink '. Mr Justice Wright : ' Ah ! ' 

Booze plausibly claims a sort of corrupt 
descent from the genuine, if low, English 
word to ' bouse, ' which occurs in our 
literature as early as 1567. D. T., 2nd 
December 1895. 

Mr O'Donovan, the Eastern traveller, 
said to a press - interviewer ( World, 
31st January 1885), 'this word is 
Persian for * ' beer " '. Was he indulging 
in one of his ordinary jokes ? If not, 
then the coalescing of these words and 
meanings is a very remarkable etymo- 
logical fact. 

Boozer (Street, 19 cent.). The 
public - house, as well as the public- 
house frequenter. 

Big Tim goes with him, while I pops 
around the boozer. People, 6th January 

Booze-fencers (Com. Lon., 1880). 
Licensed victuallers from ' booze ' 
drink, and fencers sellers probably 
a wilful corruption of * dispensers '. 

You may run down booze fencers as 
much as you like, but you take my tip 

that there are more real gentlemen 
among them than among any other class, 
upper ten included. Newsp. Cutting. 

Booze-pushers (Low London, 19 
cent.). Variant of booze-fencer. 

When a bloke is flatch kennurd the 
booze pushers will give him any rot in 
the house, and that's very hard lines. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Booze-shunters (P. House, 1870). 

They have never robbed a man of a 
hard day's work, and are the best booze 
shunters in the world without ever 
getting slewed. 

To 'shunt' in railway life is to 
move from place to place. The booze- 
shunter moves the beer, or 'booze,' from 
the pot into his visceral arrangements. 
The term was started by the S.W.R. 
porters and guards, who use the larger 
public-houses in the neighbourhood of 
the terminus in the Waterloo Koad 

Bo-peep (Nursery}. Exclamation 
of fun. Johnson does not compre- 
hensively elucidate this word when 
he gravely says it is from 'bo' and 
'peep'. 'The art', he says, 'of look- 
ing out, and drawing back, as if 
frighted, or with the purpose to fright 
one another.' SHAKESPEARE, who has 
everything, has this phrase once 
' Then they for sudden joy did weep 
And I for sorrow sung, 

That such a king should play bo-peep 
And go the fools among.' 

DRYJDEN has : ' There devil plays at 
bo-peep, puts out his horns, etc.' 

Bor (E. Anglian}. May be a 
shortening of neighbour, but is pro- 
bably a corruption of boy politely 
applied even to the oldest male 

Bore (Soc. t 19 cent.). Weary. 
From tunnelling operations steady, 
deadly, incisive 'jaw'. One of the 
trade metaphors which has passed into 
society and still stops there. Never 
has come down in ' the social scale. 
'Lord Tom bores one to death with 

To bore in the hills, is it? Well 
don't bore me about it. Miss M. 
EDGEWORTH, The Absentee (1809). 

Born Days (Peoples'). Intensifies 
Days that are born in an individual 
life. ' In all my born days I was 
never so insulted.' Other authorities 
maintain it should be 'borne,' or 

Born a Bit Tired 

Bouguereau Quality 

burdened, days while still more 
recondite etymologists maintain it is 
'bourn' from our progress daily to 
that bourn whence no traveller 
returns. Fine example of three 
different words with the same sound 
offering as many meanings. Almost 
as good or as bad as * mala '. 

Born a bit tired (Soc., 1870 on). 
Sarcastic excuse for a chronically lazy 
man. 'You can't reasonably expect 
him to work a couple of hours per 
day he was born a bit tired'. 

According to Mr Alderman Taylor, of 
the London County Council, there exists 
the man who is 'born a bit tired'. 
D. T., 13th February 1897. 

Born with a sneer (Literary, 1850 
on). Said of an implacable critic, 
attributed to Douglas Jerrold, who 
was good at sneering himself. 

' Lord X would laugh at the Holy 
Sepulchre he was, etc.'. 

Light opera has familiarised the public 
with the man who was 'born with a 
sneer'. D. T., 13th February 1897. 

Bosh (Lower Official English). A 
term applied by market inspectors to 
butterine, oleomargarine and other 
preparations practically too long - 
windedly named to please the official 
mind. Now extended to all adulter- 
ants or adulterated food. Mr 
O 'Donovan declared this word to be 
Persian, and that it means 'empty'. 
Certainly the word used as an ex- 
clamation is replete with the idea of 
emptiness. (See World, 31st January 

Boss Time (Anglo- Amer.). Great 
pleasure, a supreme holiday ; e.g., 
' Eve had a boss time last winter hunt- 
ing deer up in Michigan.' 

Now used in England. 

Botany Beer Party (Soc., 1882). 
A meeting where no intoxicants are 
drunk. In this year temperance, 
which had been growing in society for 
years, became drunk on affectation. 

Botany Beer, it has recently been de- 
cided on judicial authority, is not beer 
at all. G. A. Sala, in III. Lond. News, 
10th March 1883. 

Botherums (Agricultural). Yellow 

Among the turnips the yellow mari- 
golds flourish mightily, so mightily that 
they are called locally ' botherums ' by 
the farmers, for they are most difficult 
to get rid of. Newsp. Gutting. 

Bottle Nose (Amer. Boys}. Scorn- 
ful designation of the aged nose an 
organ which so frequently derogates 
from the promise of youth. Applied 
without mercy to those no longer 
young. Heard in Liverpool. (See 
Bald-head, Scare-crow.) 

Bottle up (People's). To refrain, 
restrain oneself; in another sense, to 
hem in the enemy, literally or figura- 

The old story of Spanish lack of pre- 
paration was repeated ; vessels were foul 
from long absence from dock, coal was 
deficient, ammunition ran short, and in- 
stead of commanding a fleet ' in being ', 
Admiral Cervara was glad to bottle him- 
self up in the harbour of Santiago. D. 
T., 17th June 1898. 

Bottled (People's, 1898). Arrested, 
stopped, glued in one place re-intro- 
duced during the American-Spanish 
war, immediately after the U.S.A. 
squadron had bottled the Spanish fleet 
in Santiago by closing the narrow 
opening to the harbour of that city ; 
e.g., 'My wife's come to town I'm 
bottled. Next week, Jane.' 

Bottle o' Spruce (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
Zero, nothing, abbreviation of Bottle 
of Spruce Beer, which was cheap, com- 
monplace, almost valueless; e.g., 'Of 
course, you say I don't care a bottle of 
spruce. ' 

It also implies twopence ; this sum, 
early in the 19th century being the price 
of a bottle of spruce beer. A man now 
seeking twopence asks for the price of 
a pint. His grandfather would have 
asked for a bottle of spruce. 

Boughten or Bought (Provincial). 
Adj ecti ve of disparagement. Bought as 
distinct from superior home-madegoods. 
No longer heard. Very pleasant, as 
illustrating a time when every country- 
house, large and small, had its spinsters, 
weavers, stocking-knitters, and straw - 
plaiters. This word is the more 
interesting from a modern instance in 
Ireland, where vanned bread that is 
carted from the baker's is a term of 
disparagement as compared with home- 
made bread. 

Bouguereau quality (Art, 1884). 
Riskily effeminate. From the name of 
the great French painter, whose style 
is almost unwholesomely refined. The 
word has become cruelly perverted by 
its translation into common-place art 




chat. Now very extensively used. 
The Bouguereau quality is not only 
applied to figure painting and to 
sculpture, but reaches landscape and 
portrait painting, decoration, and even 
literature. The Bouguereau quality in 
letters is now very marked, and refers 
to work by both sexes. It is also 
applied to manners, speech, and even 
dress remarkable example of rapid 
growth of a word. 

The exhibition includes several 
notable works by famous painters. M. 
Bouguereau 'a group called 'Spring' is 
alone worth seeing, being a very refined 
example of his exquisite painting of the 
nude. I). N., 19th July 1886. 

Boulevard -journalist (Fr., 1856). 
Immediately after Louis Napoleon 
seized upon the throne of France, a 
number of contentious little journals 
appeared, mostly of a personal and 
scandalous character, for politics had 
been practically slain. The serious 
journals styled these new issues 
'journaux des boulevards', their 
writers ' Les journalistes boulevar- 
diers '. These literary gnats especially 
attacked England, as a rule, hence 
the English press willingly Anglicised 
the term to describe an unscrupulous 
writer until 'Society journalist' was 
discovered and accepted. 

Boulevardier (Franco-Eng. y 1854- 
70). Paris man about town of third- 
rate position ; accepted in England ; 
e.g., ' He is only a boulevardier. ' 

Bounced (Avier., 1880). Igno- 
miniously ejected. Derivation speaks 
fatally for itself. 

While he did not feel greatly injured 
by being bounced from a club which num- 
bered only seven lame old men and two 
dogs, he wanted to feel that justice was 
on his side, and he therefore appealed to 
the Lime-Kiln Club for its decision. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Quite accepted in England. 

Bounced muchly (Amer. Tavern}. 
To be expelled with exceeding vigour. 
Bounced is a modern discovery, but 
the adverb 'muchly' is due to the 
wild philology of the mirth-provoking 
Artemus Ward. 

Bouncer (P. House, 3 80's). Ex- 
peller of noisy or even mildly drunken 
customers. (See * Chucker out '. ) 

The ' bouncer ' of the House of Com- 
mons, going into the gallery, tried to find 
the guilty individual, Newsp. Cutting. 

Every one who mixes much in society in 
Whitechapel will understand the functions 
of the bouncer. When tavern liberty 
verges on licence, and gaiety on wanton 
delirium, the bouncer selects the gayest 
of the gay and bounces him. To 
' bounce ' is simply to prevail on persons 
whose mirth interferes with the general 
enjoyment to withdraw from society 
which they embarrass rather than adorn. 
The bouncer almost invariably uses gentle 
means and moral persuasion. He bounces 
the erring 'as if he loved them'. His 
reputation for strength and science are 
so great that no one cares to resist the 
bouncer, and the boldest hold their 
breath and let themselves be bounced 
without a murmur. (See ' Chucker out '. ) 
D. N., 26th July 1883. 

Bouncing (Peoples'). Big, rotund 
probably from bonse a huge round 

Moreover, he has females in his employ 
who have been with him ten years, and 
many of them are the healthy mothers 
of bouncing boys and girls. I'm not 
quite sure under what circumstances 
children bounce, but I believe the ex- 
pression is applied to strapping infants ; 
though, again, I do not know under what 
circumstances children strap. G. K. 
Sims, Ref., 28th December 1884. 

Bound to Shine (Amer.). Praise. 
The antithesis of ' clouded over' (q.v.). 

Bournemouth (Theatri., 1882-83). 
The deported Gaiety Theatre (London) 
said satirically. The house was very 
icy that winter, and produced colds, 
while Bournemouth is the sanatorium 
for weak-chested invalids. 

We don't care about Bournemouth 
our pleasant name for the Gaiety, as 
everybody there is dying of coughs and 
colds. Sporting Times, 3rd February 

Bowl for Timber (Cricketers'). To 
send the ball at the martyr-player's 
legs the timber. Discountenanced in 
later years rather as waste of time 
than with any view of repression of 
personal injury. ' Try for timber 
he's quivery' that is to say, nervous. 

Bowl ( Thieves', 1 9 cent. ). Discovery 
from ' bowl out ' a cricketing term. 
Good as illustrating how a national 
pastime always provides new language. 

Grizard went with them, and said he 
wanted them to look sharp and get to 
Covent Garden before the market was 
open, in case it came to a ' bowl '. This 
was at four in the morning. The Alder- 
man : What is a bowl ' ? Witness : I 
understand it to be a find-out. 



Brayvo Hicks 

Bowler (Middle Glass). Hard, 
dome-shaped, man's felt hat. This hat 
('80) took the place of the deer-stalker, 
which was the first modern felt hat 
produced in London. The bowler was 
a make of a smaller kind altogether. 
Origin not known but probably from 
the nam of the manufacturer. Has 
quite passed into the language. 

All the description that the railway 
officials can give of the man is that he 
appeared well dressed, and wore a dark 
overcoat, closely buttoned, and a bowler 
hat. Z). T., 15th February 1897. 

Bow - wow - mutton (Naval). So 
bad that it might be dog-flesh. 

Boxing put (Austral, from Amer.). 
Boxing outing or bout. 

Boy (Boltoii). Man. There are no 
men in Bolton all are boys, even at 
ninety. This quality they share alone, 
throughout England, with post-boys 
who never grow up. 

Boy Jones, The (about 1840). 
Secret informant. A chimney boy- 
sweep of this name tumbled out of a 
chimney at Buckingham Palace, or was 
found there under a bed, and was sup- 
posed to have heard State secrets as 
between the Queen and the then 
Prince Albert. Event supposed to 
have accelerated chimney-sweeping by 
machinery. For years ' the boy Jones' 
was suggestive of secrecy. ' The per- 
son who told me, my son, was the boy 
Jones.' (See 'Jinks the Barber', 
'Postman's Sister'.) 

Boyno ! (Nautical from Lingua 
Franca, or S. American). Friendly 
valediction; sometimes been used at 
meeting as ' Hullo ! ' ' Boyno how 
is it ? ' 

At parting, 'Well so long! Boy- 
no!' From the Spanish 'bueno', 
equivalent of 'God speed you.' 

' Bueno, senoretta ! ' said the dwarf, and 
walked away with the superintendent. 

Brace up (Thieves'). Pawn stolen 
property. Corruption perhaps from 
Fr. ' Eraser ', to fabricate at length ; 
'braser des faffes' to fabricate false 
papers. May have been introduced by 
French criminals. 

Bracelets ( Thieves'). Humorous 
title for hand-cuffs ; in itself a satirical 

Brads (North Country). One of the 
trade names for money in this case 
halfpence. The word comes from the 

boot-making trade, and is still in use 
in the north. Brads are small nails. 
' Hey, lass, thee shalt hev' thy tay-tray 
when t' brads coom along.' 

Bradshaw (Middle Class). Precise 
person, great at figures. From ' Brad- 
shaw's Railway Guide' ; e.g., ' Quite a 
Bradshaw my dear. ' 

Brag (Soc., 1800-30). A game of 
cards in which the players tried to give 
the idea that they held better cards 
than they did. Hence the phrase, 
' Don't brag by the card.' 

Speculation does not greatly surprise 
me, I believe, because I feel the same 
myself ; but it mortifies me deeply be- 
cause speculation was under my patron- 
age ; and, after all, what is there so 
delightful in a pair royal of Braggers? 
It is but three nines or three knaves, or a 
mixture of them. Jane Austen's Letters, 

Bran New (Peoples'). A corrup- 
tion of brand new, that which is 
branded with the name of the maker. 
Probably from Sheffield. 

Brandy and Fashoda (Soc. t October 
1898). Brandy and soda, of course. 
Good example of droll pleonasm. 
From the discovery of the French 
captain, Marchand, at Fashoda, almost 
immediately after the conquest of the 
dervishes at Omdurman (1898). (See 
S. andB.) 

Brandy-shunter (L. Class). He 
that swalloweth frequent eau-de-vie. 

Thomas Spencer Carlton, the eminent 
brandy-shunter, was born about thirty- 
five years ago of wealthy yet honest 
parents. Newsp. Cutting. 

Brass (Metallic England). Money. 
The commonest term for cash all over 
England, and almost the only one used 
in the copper and iron industries. 

The prisoner and another man stopped 
the prosecutor, and explained that it was 
' money to buy beer ' that they wanted. 
' Haven't any ' said he. ' Yes, you have ' 
shouted Quain ; ' and we've got to have 
some of it. Now, then, brass up, or we'll 
shove you through it.' Neivsp. Cutting. 

Brass-knocker (Cadgers'). Broken 
victuals. This may be a corruption 
from the Romany, but it is now 
suggestive of a house whose superior 
respectability warrants the absence of 
complete economy and the presence of 

Brayvo Hicks (Theat., 1830). A 
peculiar form of applause only used 

Brayvo Rouse 

Bremerhaven Miscreant 

in approbation of muscular demonstra- 
tion on the lower stage especially 
broadsword exercise. Derived from 
Hicks, a celebrated favourite actor for 
many years, more especially 'upon 
the Surrey side'. After he passed 
away the applausive phrase first 
applied to him was inherited for 
many years by his natural successors. 
It may still be heard in out-of-the-way 
little theatres. Applied in S. London 
widely ; e.g., ' Brayvo Hicks into 'er 
again. Mary give 'er the gravil 

Brayvo Rouse (E. London). 
Applause approval. From the name 
of an enterprising proprietor of * The 
Eagle ' , afterwards ' The Royal 
Grecian ', a theatre situated in the 
City Road, now the Central London 
headquarters of the Salvation Army. 
This clever man was one of the first 
managers to give a long series of 
well-presented French light operas in 
English. All the best of Auber's 
work was dressed in English by 
Rouse who, it is to be feared, 
annexed without ' authorial ' complica- 
tions. Whenever he appeared it was 
always * Brayvo Rouse '. Old players 
still show his house in the City Road. 
* Buck up to it again bray vo 
Rouse ! ' 

Bread and Meat Man (Military). 
An officer of the Army Service Corps. 

Bread-basket (London Trade, 19 
cent.). Obvious invention of genius 
for stomach. Hence never extended to 
Ireland, where the equivalent is tater- 
sack, the mouth being tatur-trap. 

Miss Selina Slops was invited before 
his Worship, on the charge of smearing 
the face of B.O. 44 with a flatiron, while 
hot, and also with jumping upon his 
bread-basket, while in the execution of 
his duty. Gutting. 

Break (L. Class). Ruin, overcome, 
expose, injure justly or unjustly. 
Expression of victory ' I broke 'im 
I broke 'im through and through ! ' 
In middle classes 'to break a man' 
is an abbreviation of break away 
from him to cease to know him to 
cut him. This word obtains ever- 
increasing significations. 

Breakdown (Negro -plantation). A 
particular kind of dance, for one 
generally, where the steps are varied, 
but the performer does not move far 

from his place; coming from the old 
French settlements of America, prob- 
ably a corruption of ' Rigodon ' 
Anglicised or rather Americanised. 

I have heard of burlesque actors 
dancing a 'breakdown', but the other 
day the jEcho, on its broadsheet, 
announced, 'breakdown of an excursion 
train ! ' Entr'acte, January 1883. 

Breakers Ahead (Nautical). 
Necessarily, warning of coming danger. 

'Melita' enjoyed a very short and 
inglorious career. It started with 
'breakers ahead' and ended with 
brokers on the spot, I believe. Ref., 
14th January 1883. 

Breaking Camp (American back- 
woods). To change one's camping 
place ; figuratively, to leave it by 
way of death. 

I could have braced up under it if 
my poor Mary had got sick and died at 
home with me holdin' of her hand and 
consolin' her as she was breakin' camp 
for the other world. Newsp. Cutting. 

Breast the Tape (Sporting). 
Conquer, lead, overcome from touch- 
ing the tape with breast in running 

Leeds at the best of times does not 
rejoice in a very clear atmosphere ; but 
when she wraps herself in a fog, she can 
give London a good start in the race for 
objectionableness and breast the tape an 
easy winner at the finish. Ref., 27th 
November 1887. 

Breath strong enough to carry 
coal (Anglo. -Amer.). Drunk. 

. . . comes home at three o'clock in 
the morning with a breath strong enough 
to carry the coal. Newsp. Cutting. 

Brekker (Oxford ' er'). Breakfast 
a great find in the ' er ' dialect, but 
probably in origin dating from the 

Bremerhaven Miscreant (Amer. 
polit., 1883). At this place were made 
the clock-work dynamite torpedoes 
which ('80 - '83) alarmed European 

' Bremerhaven miscreant '. These toys, 
in which a charge of dynamite is ex- 
ploded by clockwork, are manufactured, 
it is commonly believed, by Mr Crowe, 
of Peoria. In a free country, of course, 
where there is a large Irish vote, a clever 
mechanic may make what he pleases, and 
we are far from expressing the futile 
hope that the Government of the United 
States will interfere with the industry of 
Mr Crowe and his followers. But our 
nation, though averse to a policy of 



Protection, might not unreasonably lay a 
heavy prohibitive duty on ' infernal 
machines '. D. N., March 1883. 

Briar (Peoples', 1870). A briar-root 
pipe. A modern invention, supposed 
to be of god-like comfort. * Briar-root 
is sometimes used to describe a corru- 
gated, badly-shaped nose.' 

Brickfielder (Australian). Hot 
north wind, bringing with it a red 
impalpable dust from the interior. It 
penetrates even locks, and stains 
fabrics in drawers of a dull brick red 
hence the graphic name. Generally 
comes after great heat in January, 
and portends a grateful change in the 
weather. 'What a brickfielder you 
are ! ' meaning nuisance. 

Bricky (Peoples'). Brave, fearless, 
adroit after the manner of a brick ; 
said even of the other sex, ' What a 
bricky girl she is.' (See 'Plucky', 

Bridges-bridges (Printers'). A cry 
to arrest a long-winded story. Prob- 
ably corruption of ' abregeons-abre- 
geons' in a deal Anglicized. (See 
' Grasses ', ' Chestnuts '. ) 

Bridges and no Grasses (Printers 1 ). 
Secret. A bridge is an absentee with- 
out leave, who has not sent a substi- 
tute, or grass. When a combination 
is made to prevent a master from 
getting out his paper by the printers 
absenting themselves, this would be 
called Breaking the Bridge. The 
whole system belongs to a system of 
rattening, a system which is being 
swept away by the strides of education. 

Bridgeting (Amer.-Eng., 1866 on). 
Obtaining money under false pretences, 
or even by criminal process, from ser- 
vant girls. This word has taken 
astounding journeys. It dates from 
Ireland, where so many female chil- 
dren are named after Saint Bridget 
that the name became as typical of the 
Irish serving-girl in New York as Pat 
(from St Patrick) is typical of the 
Irish working-man. From the fifties 
onward Bridget became synonymous 
in New York with domestic servant. 
In the sixties the Fenian leaders in 
New York discovered a new way of 
getting money by issuing notes of the 
Bank of the Republic of Ireland at 50 
per cent, discount. Large sums were 
obtained through many years, and 
money is obtained even now from 


sentimental Irish servant women in 
New York much of which has, it 
has been declared, aided the Irish 
Nationalist movement in the House 
of Commons. Term now applied in 
many directions. 

Brief (Peoples'}. Letter, or piece 
of paper with writing. Probably 
ancient. May be from the use by the 
First or Second George of this term 
for letter. 

Brief (19 cent.). False reference. 
The system of false references has so 
increased that many masters do not 
ask for references, but accept the ser- 
vant or clerk, discovering him to be 
honest or dishonest, as the peculiar 
disposition of the employer lies. 

Brenner said, ' I've given the Jew boy 
another brief. I hope he'll pay me this 
time.' Alleged conspiracy to defraud 
Licensed Victuallers. Morning Adver- 
tiser, 25th February 1892. 

Brief (Lawyers' Clerks'). Pawn- 
broker's ticket, suggested perhaps by 
the shape. The synonyms for this 
signal of woe are countless, and the 
list is always growing. 

' Ah, Sam, how are yer ? 'ere, will 
you buy the brief of a good red 'un, in 
for a fifth its value?' Newsp. Cutting. 

This mystic enquiry refers to the 
duplicate (this paste-board being a 
simulacrum of a card firmly pinned 
to the pledge) of a pawned watch a 
red 'un, a term which is probably the 
corruption of a proper name say 
Redding. (See Tombstone.) 

Brighton Bitter (Public House). 
Mild and bitter beer mixed satirical 
reference to some Brighton ale-house 
keepers, who, knowing Sunday and 
Monday excursionists are only chance 
customers, never give these customers 
bitter beer, though they pay its price. 

Brim (Thieves'). A fearless woman 
of the town. Origin evidently foreign 
probably the French army, where 
a ' brimade ' is equal to English mili- 
tary ' making hay ', and introduced to 
London by way of Soho. 

Bristols (Soc. t 1830 on). Visiting 
cards, from the date when these articles 
were printed upon Bristol i.e., card- 
board ; a superior Bristol make. 

Inside Madame Bernhardt's house there 
is a register open for the signatures of 
callers, and the card basket shows a 
large collection of 'Bristols'. D. T. t 
17th February 1898. 



Brit ( Theatr. ). An endearing dimi- 
nutive conferred by its denizens on 
the Britannia Theatre ; as, ' How do 
you get to the Brit ?' ' Take a train 
east one station this side of Jericho.' 
(See Bird, Vic, Eff, 'Delphi, and 
Lane. ) 

British Roarer (Peoples'}. Our 
heraldic and symbolical lion. 

The tribunes are dressed in red cloth, 
and are guarded by four comic Byzantine 
lions, which act as symbols of our British 
roarer. D. N., May 1883. 

Broad Faker (Thieves'). Card- 
player, probably not wholly dissociated 
from cheating. Broad may simply 
refer to the width of the card ; but it 
probably refers to the name of an early 
maker of cards probably marked for 

Broad - gauge Lady (Railway 
Officials', passing to Peoples'). One who 
makes rather a tight fit for five on a 
side. ' I know I'm a broad-gauge 
lady but I can't help it, can I ? ' 
Herbert Campbell's ' gag ', Drury Lane 
Panto. 1884-85. Passed away with 
the broad-gauge in the '90's. 

Brogue (Irish). Local lingual 
accent from the name of the foot- 
covering worn by the peasants. ' From 
the brogue to the boot ' (gentleman) 
'all speak the same of him, and can 
say no other '. Maria Edgeworth, The 
Absentee, ch. 9. 

Broken Brigade (Soc., 1880 on). 
Poor, younger sons living on their wits. 
' Broken ' another form of * stone- 

The younger son has been brought up 
in almost precisely the same fashion as 
his elder brother. . . . When, therefore, 
he finds himself without the legitimate 
means to live and enjoy life, as he has 
been trained to do, he must either find 
illegitimate means or else join that party 
which has earned for itself the un- 
enviable name of the broken brigade. 
D. N., 26th September 1887. 

Brokered (L. C., 1897). A 
specimen of the daily making of 
language here upon the pre-historic 
basis of the noun creating the verb. 
How much more concise than 'got 
the brokers in', and so much nearer 
the literal, for one broker who brokers, 
as a rule, suffices. 

Defendant complained that she had 
been 'brokered' by mistake, and that 
she had to go out to wash to help pay 

this debt for another man, as her 
husband was only surety. D. T., 20th 
November 1897. 

Brolly (Public School, 1875 on). 
Umbrella. This is evidently a corrup- 
tion of umbrella. How did it come 
about ? It descends from good society. 
Let us suppose the then Prince of 
Wales hears one of his children when 
very young make an effort to say 
umbrella, with 'brolly' for result, 
that he therefore applies the word very 
naturally to his umbrella ; that he is 
heard at the Marlborough, where the 
word is adopted, and so passed on 
to the sons of the members of the club, 
who carry it down into their schools 
whence it spreads. In King's College 
the word is quite naturalised. (See 
'Gamp,' 'Gingham,' 'Sangster'.) 

Brompton Boilers (Art, 1870 on). 
A three-roofed iron-built museum at 
S. Kensington. It got this name from 
the aspect of the building, and retained 
it nearly fifty years. They were only 
demolished in 1898. 

As little is there room or reason for 
carting them (the pictures left to the 
nation by Sir Richard Wallace), off to 
South Kensington, especially so long as 
the administrative powers leave the 
'Brompton boilers' in their present 
absolutely disgraceful condition. D. T., 
2nd April 1899. 

Brooks of Sheffield (M. CL, 1853 
on). Nemo warning to be careful as 
to names. ' Who was he ? ' oh 
Brooks of Sheffield. From the first 
three numbers of David Copperfield 
where David is referred to by Mr 
Murdstone in this name. Now passiug 
away but still used in the '80's. On 
all fours with Binks the Barber. 

Never mind ; I hear that Smith, the 
champion pugilist of the universe and all 
England, is going to find out who that 
there Brooks of Sheffield is who boasts 
that he knocked Smith out in a private 
glove fight. Ref., 31st July 1887. 

Broom (Soc., 1860 on). A would-be 
swell a total pretence. Corruption 
of Brum, with the 'u' long, it being 
an abbreviation of Brummagem, which 
is a contemptuous pronunciation of 
Birmingham for many years, until 
the '80s, a synonym for pinchbeck 
manufactures. Good example of sub- 
stituting a known word for another 
less known on this occasion the 
process taking place in Society itself. 



Broomstick (Canadian). A gun or 
rifle. No word could more perfectly 
outline the peaceful character of the 
Canadian as distinct from his American 
brother, when it is borne in mind that 
the latter calls his gun, shooting iron. 
The domesticity of ' broomstick ' 
yields history in itself. 

Brother Bung (London Tavern). A 
fellow - publican ; as, ' Oh, they're 
brother bungs', said contemptuously. 
However, after the usual smart English 
manner of taking even Mr John Bull 
by the horns, the less dignified 
publicans have accepted the situation 
amongst themselves, and will fre- 
quently say when meeting, ' How goes 
it, brother bung ? ' 

Brougham (Soc. t 1820 [?]). A 
small, close carriage, named after Lord 
Brougham it is even said invented 
by him. The name has lasted to this 
day as 'broom' amongst high-class 
people though less well-informed 
souls will give the two syllables. 
Recently a smaller brougham with 
rounded front has come to be called, 
by leading people, 'cask', and even 

Brown (Mooney's, Strand). Two 
pennyworth of whisky. Evasive, 
delicate mode of getting a 2d. drink, 
the usual whisky - gargle being half 
sixpence. Good example of a singu- 
larly local passing word. Mooney's 
is the Irish whisky - house of the 
whole Strand. 

Brown George (Oxford fin, 1890 
on). Large jug holding bath-water, 
from its colour, and the name of the 
earth en warer. 

Brown Polish (Anglo - Amer.). 
A mulatto. Outcome of the use of 
tan - coloured boots. Grotesquely 
graphic on the lines of Day and 
Martin (1840) describing a negro, 
because D. & M.'s blacking was so 

Brown Stone Fronts (Amer. poli- 
tical). Aristocrats. 

The dream of the rich New Yorker, 
realised in the case of Mr Vanderbilt, is 
to live in a brown stone house. 

In New York politics, efforts are some- 
times made to bring about what are called 
the primary elections in July, because in 
that month, as it is said, ' the brown 
stone fronts are out of town'. D. N., 
10th October 1883, 

The height of respectability is to 
live in a brown stone-fronted house 
that is to say, to show a bold veneer of 
brown stone to the world that passes 
along the main street, putting off your 
neighbours at the back with ordinary 
brick. Neicsp. Cutting. 

Brown Study (Soc.) Deep study. 
But why brown ? Blue, or black and 
white would be more appropriate. 
Possibly from a celebrated 'varsity man 
given to being lost in thought. 

Brown to (Com. Classes). To 
understand. Origin very obscure 
probably from a keen man of this 
name. ' He didn't brown to what she 
was saying not a little bit.' Possibly 
from meat proving its goodness by 
handsomely browning while on the 

Brown 'un, The (Sporting, 1870). 
The Sporting Times from the then 
tone of its paper. (See Pink 'un. ) 

Brownies (Loiver London, 1896). 
Common cigarettes three for one half- 
penny. From proper name, Brown. 
Outcome of cigarette-smoking. 

To meet humbler feminine wants there 
are now halfpenny packets of cigarettes 
containing three, known as ' Brownies.' 
Z>. T., 3rd March 1898. 

Bruffam (Soc., 1860 on). A droll 
variation of Brougham, the small car- 
riage known by that name Brough 
itself being pronounced Bruff. Another 
illustration of the ' gh ' eccentricities. 

A story runs that Brougham, on being 
rallied by the Iron Duke as a man whose 
name would go down to posterity as a 
great lawyer, statesman, etc., but who 
would be best known by the name of the 
carriage which had been christened after 
him, retorted that the Duke's name 
would no doubt go down to posterity as 
that of a great general and the hero of 
a hundred fights, but that he would be 
best remembered by having a particular 
kind of boot named after him. Neivsp. 

Brulee (chiefly Naval, 1863). A very 
obscure word. ' Term is used at Vingt 
et un, and consists of the dealer help- 
ing himself to two cards, one from the 
top of the pack, the other from the 
bottom. This is permissible before the 
new dealer commences his deal. He 
has the option of making the brulee or 
not. If the two cards are not a natural 
(one ace and one court card or ten), he 
pays the unit to each player of the 




money played for if it is a natural, he 
takes from each player from four to six 
times the stake, according to agree- 
ment. Sheer gambling. Not good 
form. 'N.B. Nap' (Napoleon) has 
completely swept away Vingt et un 
and 'brulee avec' as the French 
golden youth might say. Probably 
from the name of the inventor. 

Brums (R. S. Exchange). N.W. 
Railway stock. All railway stocks 
have names of convenient brevity. 

The nicknames of stocks at the Ex- 
change are, on the whole, disrespectful. 
Thus, the ordinary stock of the London 
and North- Western Kailway is known as 
' Brums ', although ' Brummagem ' is any- 
thing but a proper description of so solid 
a property. ' Mids ' will readily be re- 
cognized as Midland Railway stock ; and 
an equal facility of identification may 
be claimed for 'Chats' (Chatham and 
Dover), ' Mets ' (Metropolitan), ' Dis- 
tricts ' (Metropolitan District), and some 
others. ' Dovers ', however, would 
scarcely sugggest at first sight the 
South - Eastern Railway, nor 'Souths' 
the London and South- Western ; while 
the North Staffordshire shares are irre- 
verently spoken of as ' Pots,' after the 

The pet names are in every way pre- 
ferable. Who would not cheerfully lose 
money on ' Berthas ' (Brighton Ordinary), 
on ' Doras ' (South-Eastern Deferred), 
on ' Noras ' (Great Northern Deferred), 
on 'Saras' (Manchester, Sheffield, and 
Lincoln Deferred), or even on ' Dinahs ' 
(Edinburgh and Glasgow Ordinary) ? On 
the other hand, there is an added 
exasperation in the thought of having 
rashly ' put one's pile ' on ' Caleys ' 
(Caledonian Ordinary) or 'Haddocks' 
(Great Northern of Scotland Ordinary.) 
Neivsp. Cutting. 

Brush (Public House). Odd name 
for a small glass, which is an inverted 
cone fixed on a thick stem of glass ; 
used for dram-drinking in London 
and thus fancifully named from its out- 
line to a house-painter's brush. * 

That little bloke, with no more flesh 
on him than on a one and ninepenny 
fowl, put away six pots of four-halt", 
three kervoortens of cold satin in a two- 
out brush, a 'arf kervoorten of rum, and 
a bottle of whisky. Newsp. Cutting. 

Brush Power (Artists', 1882). 
Simply painting, e.g. ( Never was Mr 
Millais' brush power so manly and 
assured.' Grit, of R. Academy, 1883, 
John Forbes-Robertson. 

Bryant & May's 'Chuckaways' 

(E. London, 1876). Girls employed in 
B. & M.'s lucifer match factory. Here 
one reading is droll, the other perhaps 
very cruel a combination too frequent 
in peoples' wit. Chuckaways is 
one of the graphic names given 
to lucifer matches, simply because 
after striking and using, the remainder 
of the lucifer is thrown or ' chucked ' 
away. Here, in effect, the lucifer is 
applied to the cause, the maker. The 
rhyming too should be remarked. 
This same cruel meaning of chuckaway 
maybe left to the imagination. Of course 
girl lucifer match-makers, following a 
miserable and unhealthy industry, are 
not the equals of Belgravian match- 
making mothers. 

Bub (Old'iEng. now American). In 
The Country Girl the author often calls 
her husband ' bub.' In the States it 
is a friendly term addressed to a boy. 

' Your husband ought to be arrested 
for working on Sunday ! ' ' Working on 
Sunday come here, bub ! Now, bub, 
if you'll prove that my husband ever 
worked on Sunday, or any other day in 
the week, I'll give you a dollar ! I've 
lived with him for twenty years, and 
have always had to buy even his whiskey 
and tobacco, and now if he's gone to 
work I want to know it ! ' The boy 
backed off without another word. 1882. 

Bubble (Soc. t 17 cent.). To cheat. 
' To bubble you out of a sum of money.' 
Decker's Horn-book, 1609. 

The well-meaning ladies of England, 
when they subscribed for that monu- 
ment, had not the faintest notion of 
what they were doing. They were in- 
deed ' bubbled ', to use a phrase of Queen 
Anne's time. D. N., 1882. 

POLLY. I'm bubbled. 

LUCY. I'm bubbled. 

POLLY. Oh, how I'm troubled. 

Beggars' Opera. 

Still used by the lowest. ' I bubbled 
'im to rights.' Equal to ' bilk ' a more 
modern word. 

Bubble around ( Amer. - Eng. ). 
Rather a strong verbal attack, gener- 
ally by way of the press. ' I will back 
a first-class British subject for bubbling 
around against all humanity.' Besant 
& Rice, The Golden Butterfly, ch. 18. 

Buck (Soc., 18 cent.). Young man 
of fashion, derived not from the male 
deer, but a diminutive of ' buckram ', 
a stiffening fabric used in setting out 

Buck Against 

Bucking the Tiger 

the full-skirted coats of the eighteenth 
century. The word lasted fashionably 
to about 1820. It is now only used by 
thoroughly vulgar people. Its fashion- 
able equivalent in the middle of the 
nineteenth century was ' swell ', which 
is rapidly being vulgarized. * Toff ' is 
an invention of the envious enemy. 
Buck obtained an other meaning during 
the '70's a sham cab fare. During the 
evening the Strand being gorged with 
crawler cabs, it was determined to keep 
empty cabs out of that thoroughfare 
from 10 to 11 P.M. Cabmen desirous 
of getting through on the chance of 
obtaining a fare from a Strand theatre 
or restaurant would ask passing young 
men fairly dressed, if poor, to pretend 
to be a fare in order to get past the line 
of police. This fraudulent passenger 
came to be called by cabmen, and after- 
wards by the police, ' a buck ', used 
no doubt satirically. 

When a cabman wants to drive past 
the police to get access to theatre exits 
out of his own turn he puts a man into 
his cab and drives rapidly on, as if taking 
a fare away. This sham fare in street 
parlance, we learn, is 'only a buck'. 
D. N., 26th September 1887. 

Mr Bridge said in this case it had not 
been shown that the man was ' a buck ' 
in the ordinary acceptance of the term. 
Defendant had evidently allowed his 
friend to ride on the spring. This was 
an offence against the regulations, in 
addition to entailing extra labour on the 
horse. He hoped it would be understood 
that in future in such cases, and where 
' bucks ' were employed, the full penalty 
would be imposed. Newsp. Cutting, 
October 1887. 

Buck against (Anglo-Amer.). To 
oppose violently. From the stubborn 
bucking habit of stag and goat. 

Buck up and take a chilly (Navy). 
Advice to a man to pull himself to- 
gether after a hard drink. The 
* chilly ' may be literal, since cayenne 
is supposed to be a signal help 
in restoring the collapsed patient to 
sense and sobriety. 

Buck or a doe (Anglo-Amer. ). A 
man or woman, obviously from the 
habit and mode of thinking by back- 
woods' men. 

The startled girl gave him a glance, 
but no other demonstration of recog- 
nition. ' It's kinder rough to rattle 'em 
along like freight in this way (coffined, 
dead), but where you ain't got no 

plan tin' facilities of yer own it's got to be 
done. Was the lamented a buck or a 
doe?' 1883. 

Buck Parties (Soc.). Bachelor 
meets. From Australia. 

The ono drawback to our pleasure has 
been the delicate state of Mrs Pen's 
health. This sent me out to what are 
called here 'buck parties', i.e., parties 
of men only, when otherwise I should 
have gone with her to (what she calls) 
more civilised gatherings. Ref., 19th 
September 1888. 

Bucket-shop (City, 1870 on). Stock- 
jobber's, or outside broker's office. 
From U.S.A. 

prosperous merchant's defalcation and 
suicide. Montreal. SamuelJohnson . . . 
absconded. . . . Two detectives started 
with him for this city. . . . This morn- 
ing he jumped from the train at the 
Tanneries, and was found dead with two 
bullets through his brain. Johnson is 
another victim of bucket-shop specula- 
tion. It is known that he has lost 
thousands of dollars in these places. The 
community is indignant at the manner 
in which so many citizens are being ruined 
by bucket shops, and steps will certainly 
be taken to close them. N. Y. Mercury, 
2nd October 1887. 

Bucking match (Negro). Fight 
with heads. Fine example of throw- 
back to savage life. Sheer atavism. 

Stacey appeared to be the more belli- 
gerent of the two, insisted on having the 
quarrel out, and challenged Kline to 
fight him without fists or weapons. This 
is the usual manner among Philadelphia 
negroes to denominate a ' bucking 
match', which is not an infrequent 
method of settling disputes. Newsp. 

Bucking the Tiger (Anglo-Amer.). 
Gambling heavily. 

Entering by a green baize door, the 
visitors found themselves in a large and 
well-lighted room the lair of the tiger. 
Gamblers usually speak of faro playing 
as ' bucking the tiger ', but if any one 
imagines that the animal is other than a 
fat, sleek, attractive-looking feline they 
make a great mistake. Only the furry 
coat is exposed ; one must join in the 
play in order to get a glimpse of the 
fangs and claws. Newsp. Cutting. 

An oil region correspondent of a Phila- 
delphia journal, who evidently ' has 
been there' at both places says that 
' boring for oil is like " bucking the 
tiger " ', or eating mushrooms ; if you 
live it is a mushroom ; if you die it is a 
toadstool. If you strike oil you have 




bored in the right place ; if you don't 
you haven't. Newsp. Cutting. 

In the United States the operation of 
staking all one's money in a gaming hell is 
called ' bucking the tiger '. G. A. SALA. 

Bud (Amer.-Eng.). A young girl. 
Keal original American discovery. 

The American novelist is in rather a 
tight place. When he is in a tight place 
or, indeed, whether he is or not he 
usually takes the world into his confi- 
dence. His grievance at present is the 
censorship of the ' bud ', or young girl, 
of his native land. D. N., 31st May 

Buff to the Stuff (Thieves', 19 cent.). 
Accomplices who swear to stolen pro- 
perty as theirs. 

They might as well have the twenty 
quid as not, for they were sure to get out 
of it, as they were going to send some 
people to ' buff to the stuff ', a slang term 
for claiming the property supposed to 
have been stolen, and stating that they 
had sold it. Newsp. Cutting. 

Buffalo Boys (Music Hall). Comic 
negroes, affecting stupidity, probably 
from one of the earliest nigger melodies. 

Buffer (Peoples'). A catspaw, inter- 
mediator, illustrator of the couplet 

' Those who in quarrels interpose 
Often get a bloody nose.' 
Comes in one line from the railway 
buffer, which breaks the impingement of 
railway carriages, and in another line 
from buffo, who in comic Italian opera 
is always ill-used. ' Poor old buffer, ' 
said by Robson to the ghost of Lablache, 
the buffo, in The Camp at the Olympic, 
by J. R. Planche. 

Buffer (Navy). A boatswain's mate 
probably because he is the buffer 
state, so to speak, between boatswain 
and able seaman. 

Buffer State (Political). A small 
territory dividing the countries or 
colonies of two greater states as Bel- 
gium, which is a buffer state between 
France and Germany. Holland is 
another buffer state. So also is 
' Andorre '. So also were Monaco and 
Mentone the * buffer ' once between 
France and Italy. 

Buffs, Buffaloes (Secret Society) A 
jovial, so-called, secret society ' An- 
cient Order of Buffaloes.' Probably in 
the commencement from ' beau fel- 
lows ' as Hullo ! my beau fellows ! 
beau being a word much used in the 

last century. The process of being 
made a buffalo fifty years ago was 
very simple, the victim being sworn 
on the sacred ibis. Before him and 
everyone of the elect a cork was 
placed, when the president told the 
acolyte that upon a given word every 
man was to seize his cork, the last to 
touch his cork having to pay 2s. 6d. 
The word was given, the victim saized 
his cork, and as no one budged or moved 
a hand, evidently he was the last to 
touch his cork. So he paid his half- 
crown. The Buffaloes ( A. S. 0. B. ) have 
been for a long time a well-ordered 
society possibly too jovial, but cer- 
tainly in some degree charitable. They 
have proper officera, give annual jewels 
of gold, not perhaps of a very high 
carat, to their officers, and have cere- 
monials, in some degree choral, as the 
astonished outsider may learn for him- 
self as, on passing a lodge, he hears 
the brethren proclaiming their inten- 
tion to 'Chase the Buffalo', though 
where they would find the buffalo it 
would be difficult to say. Sisters, i.e., 
brethren's wives, come without to hear 
these things, and go home trembling 
and minatory. The Buffs are strictly 

Buffy (Com. Lond.). Drunk pro- 
bably Anglicized from bevvy. ' He 
always goes to bed buffy.' Or it may 
be swelled with drink, from French 
bouffi temp. Charles II. 

He, the driver, must get up earlier and 
go to bed without getting buffy, which 
he hadn't done for a week of Sundays, 
before he found that little game would 
draw in the dibs. Newsp. Cutting. 

Bug (Amer.). Abbreviation of bug- 
bear a nuisance. 

The phraseology of Edison, to judge 
from his day-book records, is synthetic, 
strongly descriptive, and quaint. . . * 
A ' bug ' is a difficulty which appears 
insurmountable to the staff. To the 
master it is ' an ugly insect that lives on 
the lazy, and can and must be killed.' 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Bugaboo (Amer.). A panic of an 
absurd and unreasoning character. 
1 The recent Fenian bugaboo.'- 1867. 

Bug -eaters (Amer.). People of 
Nebraska. This word must be read 
'beetle' in English. Refers to the 
enormous amount of insect life in this 



Bug-shooter (Schools mid Univs.). 
A volunteer volunteers not being 
popular with gown the system being 
left to town. 

If you join the Volunteers you are dis- 
courteously spoken of as a ' bug-shooter'. 
D. T., 14th August 1899. 

Bugs (Lowest Classes). Wall- 
flowers. From their colour, signal 
example of lower class tendency to 
horribly vulgar association of ideas, 
even in relation to such pleasant visitors 
as these blooms the first of the year 
frequently seen in penny bunches in 
poorest neighbourhoods early in Febru- 
ary. Who'll 'av a pennorth o' bugs ? 
(See Bloods.) 

Build up (Thieves'). To array in 
good clothes, for trade purposes. 

Jennings agreed to ' build up ' Archer 
with clothes, and at another meeting 
brought him a coat in order that he 
might appear respectable when he visited 
his old fellow-servants at the Lodge. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Bulge, To get the (Anglo-Amer.). 
To gain an advantage ; from the ap- 
proaching conqueror in wrestling or 
fighting overcoming the opponent, so 
that the conqueror's chest-muscles are 
forward, or bulging. 

Mr Dodsley has, to use the new phrase 
of American slang, ' the bulge ' on 
Messrs Longmans. D. N., 19th June 

' You wanted to get the bulge on it, 
didn't you?' 'Wanted to do what?' 
* Wanted to get the bulge on it.' ' What 
do you mean by bulge ? ' N. Y. Mercury, 

Bull (Common Lodging House) . 
A second brew of tea. 

The lodgers divide their food fre- 
quently, and a man seeing a neighbour 
without anything will hand him his tea- 

pot, and say, ' Here you are, mate ; here's 
' bull ' is a teapot with 
the leaves left in for a second brew. 

a bull for you.' A ' bull ' is a teapot with 
the leaves left in for a secoi 
G. R. Sims, Horrible London. 

Bull and Cow (Rhyming). A row. 

Bull-doze, To bull-doze (Amer.- 
Eng., 19 cent.}. Political bullying. 
The origin of this phrase is absolutely 
lost, always supposing that it was ever 
found. Mr Rees, an American autho- 
rity on obscure words, says (1887) : 

' A bull-doze is a term used in inflicting 
punishment upon an unruly animal ; the 
weapon a strap made out of the hide of 
a bull. During the existence of slavery 
the term "bull-doze" was used when a 

negro was to be whipped ; the overseer 
was instructed to give him as many lashes 
as was applied to an animal, hence the 
term 'bull-doze'." Maybe 'doze' has 
reference to dozen. 

This word is also used in private life 
to describe pestering conduct : 

Serves you just right for bull-dozing 
me a whole month to make this infernal 
excursion. Newsp. Cutting. 

The following quotation will show 
that even in the U.S.A. themselves 
this term is not fully understood : 

' What do they mean by bull-dozing ? ' 
asked an inquisitive wife the other even- 
ing. 'I suppose they mean a bull that 
is half asleep.' And the injured one kept 
on with her sewing, but said nothing. 

Bulley (Westminster School). The 
lappet of a King's scholar's gown 
probably rather meant to describe the 
wearer than the gown. 

Bullfinches (Hunting). High hedges 
probably from the name of some 
owner or farmer opposed to hunting. 

To the stag, we imagine, it is a matter 
of small concern whether his enemies are 
counter-jumpers or leapers of bullfinches. 
Newsp. Cutting, March 1883. 

A bullfinch in Ireland is a stone hedge. 
Athenceum, 17th Feb. 1887, p. 221. 

Bullock's horn (Artizans' rhyming). 

Put your kicksies in the bullock's 
horn. Cutting. 

Bully (0. Eng.). From bullocking 
and bull -tossing. 

Yes, you villain, you have defiled my 
own bed, you have, and then you have 
charged me with bullocking you into 
owning the truth. It is very likely, an't 
please your worship, that I should bul- 
lock him. Fielding, Tom Jones, bk. ii. 
ch. 6. (See Bully-rag.) 

Bully (Amer.). Capital, good, 
excellent perhaps from French 
Colonial times in the south, and from 
* bouilli' the stewed beef which equals 
in Gallic popularity and stability the 
4 roast ' of England and the States. 

' What's the matter with you ? ' ' My 
leg's smashed,' says he. 'Can't yer 
walk ? ' 'No.' ' Can yer see ? ' Yes.' 

' Well,' says I, ' you're a Rebel, but 

will you do me a little favour ? ' 'I will,' 
says he, ' ef I ken.' Then I says, ' Well, 
ole butternut, I can't see nothin*. My 
eyes is knocked out, but I ken walk. 
Come over yere. Let's git out o' this. 
You pint the way, an' I'll tote yer off the 
field on my back.' ' Bully for you,' says 
he. And so we managed to git together. 
We shook hands on it. 1863. 


Bully about the Muzzle 

Buncombe or Bunkum 

Mr Rees (N. York) says : ' Bully ' is 
used as indicating satisfaction amongst 
lower English classes as ' Never mind, 
as they say in the waxey crowd, he's a 
bully boy.' 

Captain Townshend saw an omnibus 
pole strike a gentleman's horse in the 
flank, knocking over both steed and rider, 
and the man, calling out 'Bully for 
you,' drove away laughing. 

Bully about the muzzle (Dog- 
fanciers'}. Too thick and large in the 

' Angelina [a terrier] is bully about the 
muzzle,' said Maulevrier ; we shall have 
to give her away.' Miss Braddon, 
Phantom Fortune. 

Bully-fake (London, 1882). A com- 
pound of ' bully ' here meaning 
advantageous and 'fake' action, or 
result. Fake is said to come from 

It's a bully fake for a dona when she 
has the fair good luck to snap hold a 
husband who will cut up to rights. 
Newsp. Gutting. 

Bully-rag (Peoples', 19 cent.). To 
scold at length ; said of a woman. 
Probably suggested by the irritation 
caused to the bull in the ring, or per- 
haps pit, by being driven frantic with 
a perpetual red flag the rag. ' Don't 
bully -rag me, woman ! ' 

Bum-boozer ( Theatr.}. A desperate 
drinker. It is to be feared that the 
following line has been seen in the ad- 
vertisements for artistes in the com- 
moner theatrical papers : 

' Bum-boozers save your stamps.' 

Bumble puppy (Provincial). A 
tossing game used to cheat simpletons 
hence bumble-puppy means idiot and 
idiocy. Origin unknown. 

By-the-bye now that we are to be 
legalized into such goody-goodies that 
little or no sport is to be allowed except 
battledore and shuttlecock, egg -hat, 
push-pin, etc., I am about to offer a prize 
for the championship of Bumble puppy, 
i.e., if the police authorities will allow it 
to take place. Newsp. Cutting. 

Bummaree (Billingsgate). A mid- 
dleman at the fish auctions. Corruption 
of bonne maree. French seaside term 
for high tide or flood, and also for salt- 
water fish. 

The ' bummarees ' or middlemen whip 

up all the plaice, and carry them off to 

turn a penny on them by breaking them 

up into smaller lots. Newsp. Cutting. 

Bummarees (Cooks'). Corruption of 

Bain-marie, a cooking utensil consist- 
ing of a number of little pots in a bath, 
or ' bain ', of water contained in a 
large pot. The French phrase is as 
difficult to comprehend as the corrup- 
tion for Marie is beyond analysis 
unless it is the name of the inventor. 
English books of a later school making 
an effort to avoid the first syllable and 
be truly Parisian, call the contrivance 
a c bang Mary ' a very alarming 

Bummer (Anglo- Amer., 1880). Ori- 
ginally a commercial traveller, from one 
who * booms '. (Now a noisy cad. ) 

'You are nothing but a third-class 
society bummer, fit only to associate 
with your own class of New York scum.' 
N. Y. Mercury, 8th October 1883. 

Bun Feast (Soys'). A woeful 
description of a very poor and meagre 
feast, where buns need not necessarily 
serve to swell up the juvenile stomach. 

Bunce (Drapers'). Goods probably 
from a proper name. 

Bunch of Fives (L. Class). The 
fist simply ingenious mode of proving 
the speaker can count up to five. 

One of the associates of the eccentric 
Marquis of Waterford formed a collection 
of door-knockers, brass plates, bell pulls, 
little dustpans, golden canisters, and 
glovers' ' bunches of fives ', of which, in 
the course of a roystering career, he had 
despoiled private houses and tradesmen's 
shop-fronts. G. A. Sala, Illust. Lond. 
Neics, 27th January 1883. 

Buncombe or Bunkum (Amer.- 
Eng., 19 cent.). Politically, or pos- 
sibly any publicly, spoken flattery. 
This word is an admirable instance of 
a name at once passing into a language 
and even yielding to phonetic spelling. 
The press, both in the U.S.A. and in 
England, accepted immediately the 
name as a synonym for humbug. From 
a celebrated orator of honied phrases 
named Buncombe. Vulgarised rapidly 
into Bunkum ; but the Americans, 
permanently accepting the word, have 
restored the original spelling. This 
name-word has as absolutely passed 
into the English language as ' burke ', 
or ' boycot '. Mr Rees (New York) 
says of this word : 

The origin of this expression was in 
the lower house of Congress. A member 
from North Carolina, and from the 
county of Buncombe, was speaking when 
some of the members showed disappro- 



bation, manifested in the usual manner 
by coughing and sneezing. The member 
was not long in making the discovery 
that he was making himself very ob- 
noxious, nor willing to yield an iota of 
his time to any one, and fully determined 
to have his ' talk ', addressed the dis- 
affected members thus: 'Go, gentle- 
men, if you like ; clear out, evaporate, 
for I would have you to know that I am 
not addressing the house but Bun- 
kum ! ' 

Bundling ( Welsh). Courting in a 
reclining position. 

That peculiar Welsh institution, 
' bundling ' has almost disappeared, a 
son of the Cymry tells me, from the 
Principality. It was a sort of union by 
which a man and woman agreed to take 
one another on trial for twelve months. 
If at the end of that time harmonious 
relations still subsisted between them, 
they usually took one another, for better 
for worse, in the orthodox manner. But, 
if they separated, no sort of disgrace or 
stigma attached to either ; they went 
their ways, and the world thought none 
the worse of them for having lived in 
open adultery. People, 17th January 

Bung (Peoples', 1850 on). A land- 
lord sometimes endearing when used 
by dearest friends, but generally and 
increasingly suggestive of contempt 
and superiority on the part of the 
speaker. Used by a client towards a 
publican whilst he is holding his court 
in his own particular gin palace ; might 
lead to an immediate call upon the 
chucker-out to eject the traitor. Only 
a complete ' pal ' could afford, with an 
elegant but risky sense of fun, to say, 
' Dear Bung, I'll take another bitter ' 
beer being understood. 

Bung (Public Schools). A lie pro- 
bably from some notorious liar's name, 
known in some leading school, whence 
it has drifted to most schools. 

Bung Ball (London Tr.). A great 
annual Terpsychorean meet of the 
bungs, or publicans. Celebrated for 
the grandeur 'of the diamonds or 
what are said to be diamonds and 
other precious stones. At this function 
artificial hops and grapes are never 
worn, they being too suggestive of the 
bar. (See Blood Ball.) 

Bungaries (Peoples', 1870 on). 
Public-houses. As taverning came to 
be looked down upon, the landlord, 
once mine host, honest John Barley- 
corn, etc., became a 'bung' whence, as 

general contempt for pubs, increased, 
bungary for his house came to be good 
English. ' Bungs and bimgaries must 
pass away.' 

Buniony (Art, 1880). Terra to 
express lumpiness of outline, from a 
a bunion breaking up the ' drawing ' 
of a foot. < He has still go, but he's 
getting very buniony.' 

Bunk (Peoples'). To retreat judi- 
ciously. ' I shall bunk ', very common 
in public schools. 

Bunker (L. Class). Beer Angliciz- 
ing of ' bona-aqua ' an idea of some 
light-hearted Italian organ-grinder in 
the Italian quarter behind Hatton 

Bunko (Amer. -Eng.). Doubtful, 
shifty. From S. America. Heard in 

At Mackinao they took him for a lord, 
and at Cleveland he was taken for a 
bunko man, and had to identify himself 
by telegraph. 

Bunter (Thieves'). A woman thief 
of the lowest possible kind. The very 
gutterling of crime to whom no ' per- 
fect lady ' would condescend to fling 
a ' 'ow d'ye doo ? ' 

Bunting - tosser (Navy) Signal- 
man. The signals are small flags 
made of bunting, and they are run up 
at or near the mast-head. 

Bupper (Peoples', 19 cent.). Uni- 
versal infantile reduction of bread and 
butter used, as a rule, until the speci- 
men gets his first paternal spanking 
over his first pair of breeches, when the 
word passes into ' toke ' for the whole 
term of his natural boy's life, e.g., 
' Bit o' bupper, p'ease ' too often 
heard in the watches of the night. Said 
to be of royal descent. ' Upon my 
word ', said the old general, ' I think 
I prefer bup to anything.' 

Burgle (Soc., 1880). To commit 
burglary. Introduced (at all events 
to London) by Mr W. S. Gilbert in 
The Pirates of Penzance. 

Burick (L. Class, 19 cent.). A wife 
said to be Romany. To administer 
manual correction to her is ' to slosh 
the burick '. 

When your burick gets boozed, smashes 
the crockery, and then calls in her bloom- 
ing old ma to protect her from your 
cruelty, that's the time to do a guy. 
Cutting, 1883. 



Burke (Polit., 19 cent.). To stifle, 
quash, abate from one Burke, who 
with another, Hare, for some years 
early in the nineteenth century, 
systematically murdered persons of all 
ages, in Edinburgh, for the purpose of 
selling their bodies to medical men for 
hospital purposes. Their mode was 
by stifling with pitch-plasters, which 
prevented outcry. Their victims were 
first generally made drunk, except in 
the case of women. Hence the 
appositeness of the word for silencing. 
First used in Parliament by way of 
attack ; afterwards accepted as a good 
verb full of meaning. 

Burst (Policemen's, 1879). Out- 
pour of theatrical audiences about eleven 
(of course P.M.), into the Strand. 'The 
burst gets thicker every month,' said 
the sergeant. ' All the world goes to 
the play now.' The sudden popularity 
of the play-house began about 1879, and 
went on increasing in the most mar- 
vellous manner. 

Burst her stay-lace (London). A 
sudden bust-heaving feminine indig- 
nation, which might even literally, and 
certainly does figuratively, bring about 
this catastrophe. 

Burst your crust (Prize-ring, 1800, 
etc.). Breaking the skin. Went to 

It is not good manners to do so, and 
you might slip and burst your crust by 
so doing. American Comic Etiquette for 

Bury (Low Life). To desert. 

Buryen' face (Amer.) Solemn, 
serious countenance burying face. 

Boon's I could git my buryen' face on, 
I takes Spider in ter whar the fuss wuz 
goin' on. Tobe Hodge. 

Bus (Soc., 1881). Dowdy dress. 
Applied only to women ; when a badly- 
dressed victim enters a drawing-room 
this fatal word may be used meaning 
not so much that the lady has come by 
bus as that her style of dress is not 
fitted to any sort of vehicle higher in 
character than the once popular one 

Bus-bellied Ben (Street, E.G., 1840 
on). An ordinary name for an alder- 
man, who used to be frequently corpu- 
lent. The wave of abstinence, however, 
has swept even over the corporations 

of the City of London. The satire was 
completed by a couplet 

Bus-bellied Ben ; 

Eats enough for ten. 

Bush-ranger (Austral.}. Highway- 
man. Interesting as a comparative 
term ; for while the word is fairly 
equivalent to our highwayman, it is 
significant to compare both with the 
American evasive ' road-agent '. 

Bushy Park (Rhyming, 1882). A 
synonym for ' lark '. 

Oh, it is a bushy park to see the Sal- 
vation souls toddling about arm-in-arm. 

Business end of a tin tack (Amer. ). 
The point. 

The joke about the pin in the chair, 
and the suggestion that the business end 
of a tin tack would be preferable, are 
essentially American. 7). N., 1882. 

Persons unaware of the existence of 
such agents as buckram or crinoline 
muslin might be forgiven for supposing 
that such flounces were maintained in 
order on the principle of an air cushion, 
and that the introduction of the business 
end of a pin would produce sudden 
collapse. D. N., 27th March 1883. 

Busker. He who goes busking. 
' Now, gentlemen, don't break out the 
bottom o' the plate with the weight o' 
silver you 'and this old busker. I'd 
send round my 'at as more civil, but 
yer liberality 'ud knock the bottom 

Busking (Street - singers'). Going 
from pub. to pub. singing and reciting, 
generally in tow with a banjo. 

' Hang it, I hope I shall never come 
down to regular busking ; yes, now 
and again when bis. is bad, but for 
ever Lord forbid.' 

' That pub's no good don't you see 
the notice no buskers after 7. They've 
got their evenin' reglers.' Cutting. 

Busnacking (Navy). Equals Paul 
Prying unduly interfering. 

I wish old Nobby wouldn't come 
1 busnacking ' about, worrying a chap 
out of his life. I wasn't doing any harm ! 
To 'busnack' is to be unnecessarily 
fussy and busy. Rev. O. Goodenough, 

Buss me bub (London, 18 cent.). 
Baise-moi evidently. (See Country 

Bust (Street, 1875). Burst, or ex- 
plode with rage, and so join the 
majority. As a noun it means a 
heavy drink. 



A vulgar critic asserts that Poe must 
have been on a bust, and raven mad 
when he wrote his famous poem. 

A sculptor can be on a bust without 
losing cast. Newsp. Cutting. 

Busted (Amer., 19 cent.). Bank- 

' We're busted miners, missus,' began 
Black Dan, with a wink to his comrades, 
' completely busted, an' can't pay. What 
you give us to eat must be fer charity.' 
Newsp. Gutting. 

Buster (London, 1844 on). A 
penny loaf. This word has rather a 
pathetic origin. When the abolition 
of the corn laws reduced the price of 
bread, it increased the size of the 
penny loaf, which at once obtained 
this eulogistic title a corruption of 
burster, a loaf large enough to rend 
the enclosing stomach. This term 
remains, but not in its appositeness, 
for whereas the baker in those early 
free trade days took a pleasure in 
showing how much bread he could 
give for a couple of halfpence, the 
more recent baker has practically 
abolished the object. Even his penny 
roll is not overpowering as to size. 

Buster (Music Hall, 1882). A 
special giantess, called Maid Marian. 
For some time after she left London 
the word was applied to big women, 
and for some years the boys in the 
Leicester Square district would shout 
at a big woman, 'My high yere's a 
Maid Marian for yer ! ' Marian was a 
Bavarian giantess brought to London 
in this year. She appeared at the 
Alhambra in the autumn so success- 
fully that the dividends paid to share- 
holders were doubled. She was sixteen 
only, more than 8 feet high, and 
was * still growing'. The use of the 
word ' Maid ' before Marian grew out of 
the suggestion the two words formed 
that of the sweetheart of Robin Hood. 
Doubtless this title accelerated the 
popularity of the giantess, who died 
before she was twenty. 

Bust yer (Street, 1880 on). A 
recommendation to ruin; e.g., 'Bust 
yer, what do I care about that ? ' 

Busy Sack (Travellers'). A carpet 
bag. Good word, and capital equivalent 
to the American ' hand-grip ', given to 
the small hand-bag. 

Butcher (Public House). One of 
the synonyms for ' stout ' obtained 

probably from general observation that 
few butchers are thin and narrow. 

Butter, To (Cricket, 1898). To 
miss, fail to catch from butter- 
fingers, or rather buttered, so that 
they have no hold. In cricket gener- 
ally applied to the miss of an easy 

Butter-churn (Music Hall Artistes'). 
Rhyming for ' turn ' the short appear 
ance of the performer on the stage, 
which he or she occupies about a 
quarter of an hour. 

When the dona's finished her butter 
churn, he fakes his way to her, and if 
there's no other omee mouchin for the 
music why he takes her to her next 
flippity flop. Biography of a Toff Bundle 

Butter - fingers (Household). A 
servant careless in all her ways 
especially as to crockery. As though 
the fingers are so greased that no grip 
can be made. 

Butter upon Bacon (Household 
English). Extravagance resulting 
out of the condemnation of eating bread 
and butter with bacon, instead of the 
plain loaf. ' What are you going to 
put lace over the feather isn't that 
rather butter upon b'acon ? ' 

Buttock and File ( Thieves', 18 cent. ). 
Shop-lifter, evidently French ; filer 
meaning ' to escape quickly '. 

Button-maker (London). A nick- 
name of George III. 

The King was familiarly called the 
'Button Maker' by one generation of 
his faithful subjects, and 'Farmer 
George ' by another. His son is still 
sarcastically referred to as the 'First 
Gentleman in Europe '. Newsp. Cutting. 

Buxton Limp (Buxton). Reference 
to the hobbling walk of invalids taking 
the waters. Borrowed from the 
Alexandra Limp (q.v., also Grecian 
Bend, Roman Fall). 

If walking is too severe exaction just 
at first and the 'Buxton limp' is too 
decided, the patient secures a seat in 
the omnibus. D. N. (Harrogate), 31st 
August 1883. 

Buy your Thirst (Amer., passing 
English 1894). To pay for drink. 

Buz (Oxford Common Room). Turn 
of the don or visitor to whom this 
word is addressed to fill his glass the 
liquor, as a rule, being priceless port. 
' It's your buz ! ' Very ancient 


Buz-faker, Buz-fdking 

Callage, The 

supposed to be a corruption of ' bouse ', 
or booze, common London for 'a 
drink ', and to drink. 

' In bousing about 'twas his gift to 


And from all jolly topers he bore off 
the bell.' 

Buz-faker, Buz-faking (L. London). 
One of the applications of ' booze ' a 
buz-faker being an individual, gener- 
ally a woman, or rather one that was 
a woman, who makes the victim drunk 
before the robbery is effected. 

Buzzards (Amer.). People of 
Georgia probably from the wild 
turkeys which once abounded there. 
Singular return to Red Indian customs, 
the Red Indian being always designated 
by the name of something in natural 
history associated with his surround- 
ings. Nearly every state has its in- 
habitants named after this system. 
(See Blue Grass.) 

Buzzer (Peoples', 1898 on). A road- 
motor of any kind, from the noise 
made during progress. 

Byblow (Lower Peoples 1 ). An 
illegitimate child. Suggested by an 
aside breath. May be from Carolian 
times, and a corruption of ' bibelot ' 
(a valuable small art object) a term 
which any one of the famous French 
' beauties of the Court ' might apply 
to her nursling and one that may 
have been translated satirically into 
byblow. The bas peuple of France to 
this day style an illegitimate 'un 
accident '. 

By the Holy Grail (Hist.). The 
blood of Christ. A solemn invocation 
to this day in thoroughly Catholic 
countries, and heard in provincial 
France now and again 'Par le sang 
real.' It is heard in England, in the 
west only, and there very naturally 
reformationised into ' By the Holy 
Grill ' for Grail has no meaning, 
while 'grill' has a deal. Probably 
here the grill refers to St Lawrence, 
who was completed by being grilled. 
In Paris this invocation is represented 
by ' Sacre ', and ' Sacre* Dieu ' ' Sang 
Real de Dieu.' The English phrase 
has much exercisd English ety- 
mologists. Many have assumed that 
the ' grail ' was a round dish in which 
the Redeemer broke the bread. Nay, 
there has been published a drawing 
of this very dish. The phrase is 


derived from ' sang real ' in this way. 
The 'g' of 'sang' thrown upon the 
following <r' we have great; then 
the remaining 'san' has been taken 
for e saint ' holy, and then some 
blundering early printer has taken the 
verbal phrase 'san greal' and trans- 
lated it 'Holy Grail' and thus it 
remains to this day a phrase utterly 
without meaning. (See More Blue). 

By th' good Katty (Lancashire and 
North generally). An ancient Catholic 
oath, evidently By the good Catherine 
St Catherine of Alexandria, whose 
popularity in England is probably 
proved by the number of wheel- 
windows in Gothic architecture. ' By 
th' good Katty, aw feel like as if aw 
should ne'er ha' done.' 

C. B. U. (Commercial, 1897). Legal 
initials of Court of Bankruptcy, Un- 
discharged. Arose from the process 
of one H. H. who obtained goods 
while an undischarged bankrupt by 
letter headed with these initials which 
he held, freed him from a charge of 

The superintendent of police stated 
that there were hundreds of cases against 
the accused, who pleaded that the letters 
'C. B. U.' which appeared on his note- 
paper informed his creditors that he was 
an undischarged bankrupt, the exact 
interpretation of the letters being ' Court 
of Bankruptcy, undischarged'. D. T., 
23rd March 1897. 

C. H. (Popular from Nov. 1882-83). 
Conquering Hero. The term took its 
rise consequent upon the incessant 
reception of the soldiers engaged in 
the Egyptian War (1882), by the 
playing of ' See the Conquering Hero 

It will soon be a military distinction 
not to be a C. H. Ref., 19th November 

C. O. (Military). Soldiers' Greek 
for ' the Colonel '. 

C. S. (American Civil War}. 
Abbreviation of Confederate soldiers. 

U. S. and C. S. slept together on 
blankets. Newsp. Cutting. 

Cabbage, The (1883). A familiar 
name given to the Savoy Theatre, 
opened in 1881, and named after the 

Cabbage Garden Patriots 

Calico Hop 

old ' Savoy ' liberties, within which it 
was built. 

When I saw the Cabbage Theatre 
full I thought to myself, etc. (1883). 

Cabbage Garden Patriots (PoliL, 
1848 on). Cowards. 

The phrase ' cabbage garden patriots ' 
refers to the way in which Smith O'Brien, 
the uncrowned king of forty years ago 
or so, was discovered hiding in a bed of 
cabbages after his followers had fled in 
all directions, when they were informed 
as to the coming of the horrid Saxon's 
minions. Ref., 20th October 1889. 

Cackle (Theatrical). To cackle is 
neither to gag, nor to pong it is 
both, with cackle added. A ceaseless 
unpunctuated flow of words and 
phrases more or less unconnected and 

'Cackle' is a convertible substantive 
or verb which carries a meaning for 
which it would be most difficult to sub- 
stitute any other word nearly so effective, 
and there is a world of satire in its 
application to a human goose. Stage, 
21st August 1885. 

Cackle-tub (Thieves'). A pulpit. 
The dangerous classes evolved this 
term in prison, where they probably 
see a pulpit for the first time. 

Cackling Cove (Cadgers'). An 
actor the cadger seeing no difference 
between observing Shakespeare, and 
whining floridly for pence. 

Cadaver (A nglo-Amer.). A financi- 
ally * dead 'un.' 

Three fresh Cadavers. Last week the 
Crawford Mutual Belief Association, of 
Ohio, notified the Insurance Commis- 
sioner of that State that it was in the 
throes of dissolution. The day following 
the Northern Ohio Mutual Relief 
Association and the Eureka Life sur- 
rendered their hungry ghosts. Newtp. 

See Dead 'un. 

Cad-mad (Oxford, 1880). The vain 
glory and superciliousness which over- 
come, and permanently, the better 
sense of nouveaux riches, parvenues, 
mushroomers (see), 'Poor devil forgive 
him he's a cad mad emancipated 

Cads on Castors (1880). Bicylists. 

It will come as a severe blow to 
fastidious people, who, adopting and 
freely using the rather stupid phrase 
that stigmatised all bicyclists as 'cads 
on castors', fondly thought that they 

could kill by ridicule a pastime to which 
they took exception. D. JV., 10th 
September 1885. 

Cady or Kadi (Whitechapel). A 
hat probably from the Hebrew. It 
has the distinction of offering one of 
the rare rhymes to lady. In 1886 a 
song-chorus began 
Met a lady ! 
Raised my cady ! 

The lady probably being of in- 
sufficient virtue the context borne 
in mind. 

Ca.esa.r&tion( American). A remark- 
able shape of evasive swearing really 

' Ow ! ow ! Caesaration ! I'll kick the 
head off you ! ' he roared, catching hold 
of a fence and glaring at the boy. 
Neivsp. Cutting. 

Cake (London, 1882). A foolish 
stupid fellow. Used in good society, 
Borrowed by Mr Emanual Duperre for 
a comedy of English manners called 
Rotten Row, produced at the Odeon 
(Paris, 1882). 

Cake-walk (Music Hall, 19 cent.). 
Negro step-dancing. 

The science of ' cake-walking ' does not 
appear to be a particularly abstruse 
one. Indeed, it may be said to have 
been anticipated by the English minuet. 
Cake - walking is, in fact, a graceful 
motion, conducted upon the toes and 
ball of the foot. Yet there must be an 
unsuspected amount of merit in it, for 
we are informed that the Farrells won 
first prize at the Madison Square Gardens 
in New York before 10,000 interested 
spectators. ... As the reward to the 
dancers generally consists of an elaborate 
cake we are at once enlightened as to 
the genesis of a colloquialism, which has 
become quite acclimatised in our own 
land. D. T., 14th March 1898. 

Calf Round (Amer. Agricultural, 
1870). To dawdle about, asking for 
some kind of help suggested by a 
calf worrying its mother. 

' No, sir ; I'll die first. Integrity in 
business transactions is the rule of my 
life. When I set a time to pay you, 
calf 'round.' Kentucky State Journal, 

Calico Hop\(Amer.-Eng.). A free 
and easy calico ball. This function 
was invented to evade expenditure by 
providing that all the dresses, ordinary 
or fancy, should be strictly of cotton. 
However cunning people held cotton 
velvet to be within the bounds of a 




calico ball, and so contrived to make 
rare displays of themselves. 

The Pleasure League gave a calico hop 
to their numerous friends on Wednesday 
evening, at Gerstner's Hall, which was 
largely attended. N. Y. Mercury, April 

Calicot (French). Originally a 
trade phrase for a linen-draperman 
both in France and England used to 
describe a ' snob ' or cad. ' What a 
calicot he is ! ' E. Zola in Au 
Bonheur des Dames (1883) uses the 
word in its original acceptation 
' Hein des calicots qui vendent des 
fourrures ! ' Derived from linen - 
drapers' young men dressing expen- 
sively, but not purchasing good 

Call it 8 Bells (Nautical). Early 
drink. It is not etiquette in good 
nautical circles to have a drink before 
high noon ; 8 Bells. So the apology 
for alcoholics before that hour takes 
this form : ' Come along I fancy 
the bar is this way. Call it 8 Bells.' 
And they do. 

Call-money (Police). Money paid 
to policemen for calling artisans early 
in the morning at a given hour. 

Attention to ' call-money ' appeared to 
receive more favourable consideration, 
and sixpences per week for rousing 
sleepy shopkeepers were matters not to 
be lightly estimated, even though it is 
written in the rules, we believe, that no 
fees are to be received from the citizen 
who requires to be roused. Papers on 
Metrop. Police. 

Calloh (Hebrew- Yiddish). A bride. 
Proper spelling of the ordinary term, 
kollah (q.v.). 

Camberwell Death-trap (Camber- 
well, 19 cent.). Surrey Canal. 

Mr Powell, whose little nephew was 
recently drowned in the Surrey Canal, 
has called attention in a contemporary 
to the dangerous condition of that water- 
way. He regards it as a pitfall for little 
boys who walk on or play about its 
banks, and he tells us that it is locally 
known as ' the Camberwell Death-trap '. 
D. ^.,.27th September 1883. 

Cambric (Soc., 18 cent.). A shirt 
of fine linen ; later a handkerchief of 
cambric. Derived from name of place of 
manufacture of fine linen. ' Cambray ' 
or Cambrick, after the fashion of calico. 

Cambridge lot (Oxford Univ.). 
General term of scorn for men of the 
more eastern of the two universities. 

The distinction of this ' Cambridge lot ' 
is of a kind which is not merely official 
but individual, and of an individuality 
specially suitable for recognition by a 
University. Newsp. Cutting, 1883. 

Camera Obscura (Amer. - Eng.). 
Le queu. 

The Arkansan walked behind the 
stooping darkey, swung his right boot 
into the air three or four times, and then 
sent the sole whizzing against the darkey's 
cam era-obscura. Neivsp. Gutting. 

Came up (Street, 1890). Come up. 
Amongst the masses it is a common 
shape of small wit to replace the 
present by the past tense. 'Came' 
for ' come ' is very common and used 
by most drivers who invariably say 
* Came up '. 

Camp (Street). Actions and gestures 
of exaggerated emphasis. Probably 
from the French. Used chiefly by 
persons of exceptional want of char- 
acter. * How very camp he is.' 

Can (Navy). A. B.'s familiar ab- 
breviation of Canopus. Why classic 
when you can be colloquial, and ' can ' 
is still very colloquial in the Navy. 

Can I help you with that ? (Peoples', 
1895 on). Said generally to a man 
with money, or eating, or more 
especially drinking. Drolly begging, 
in fact mean invention. When said 
to the fairer sex the import is different. 

Can you say uncle to that ? (Dust- 
men's). To which the usual answer 
appears to be (in a dust-yard) ' Yes 
I can.' Uncle in this relationship 
appears to equal ' reply '. 

Can you smash a thick 'un? 
(Peoples'). Can you change a sovereign. 
A grim sign of woe suggesting the 
common experience that the moment 
a sovereign is changed, it is ' smashed ' 
or gone. 

Canader ( Oxford ' er '). A Canadian 
canoe this word being canoer. Accent 
on the second in Canader. 

Canaries (London, 1882). Charity 
subscription papers. This term took 
its rise from the use of the word by 
Booth, the General of the Salvation 
Army. The colours of the Army were 
red and yellow, probably in close 
imitation of the scarlet and gold of the 
officers of the Guards. The idea of 




using yellow paper for subscription 
lists probably arose from the combined 
facts that yellow paper is cheap and 
that yellow was one of the Army 
colours. On the other hand, red 
paper is very expensive. General 
Booth, who had a marked tendency 
to very simple forms of humour, 
named these papers * Canaries '. The 
word ' took ' at once. 

Canary (Music Hall, 1870). Chorus - 
singer amongst the public generally 
in gallery. Invented by Leybourne, 
a comic singer, probably to give him 
rest between his verses, he being 
pulmonary. ' Go it, canaries ', he 
flatteringly would say, meaning that 
they sang like canaries. 

Chorus-singing by the canaries has 
long been a South London Institution. 
Ref., March 1886. 

Canary (Costermonger, 1876). An 
ideal hip adornment. 

Upper Benjamin built on a downy 
plan, velveteen taoc, kerseymere kicksies, 
built very slap up, with the artful dodge, 
a canary, very hanky panky, with a 
double fakement down the side. Gutting. 

Very difficult of explanation, and in 
true descent from the cod-piece, though 
not so glaring in its declaration. It 
has also some association with ' II Ruos- 
signuole ', as spoken of in the sprightly 
pages of Boccacio. 

Canary Bird (Peoples'). A sove- 
reign. Canary, as something charming, 
is often associated with pleasant things 
that are yellow. ' Yes, it's a canary 
bird, but it will soon fly away to my 
landlord. He gets them all ! ' 

Candid Friend (Soc., 1860). Equi- 
valent of the damned kind friend of 
Sir Peter Teazle's. One who says 
what a mere acquaintance would stu- 
diously avoid. Man who urges what 
he should only admit with reluctance. 

Mr Foster has for a long while taken 
upon himself the unpleasant r61e of 
' candid friend ' with regard to the 
Government, and every now and again 
considers it his bounden duty to chide 
the members of it when even those who 
are in open Opposition would remain 
silent. Ref., 8th March 1885. 

Candle, To (Peoples', 18 cent.). To 
investigate or examine minutely. 
Figure of speech derived from the use 
of candles to test eggs, and to ascertain 
if a second sheet or other enclosure was 
included in a letter. In the last 


century the candle was practically the 
only mode of illumination a common 
object. Now, except in the ' wax ' 
division of society, a candle is fre- 
quently not seen from year's beginning 
to end. 

It requires a stretch of fancy to picture 
forth an old-fashioned post-office, with 
clerks ' candling ' the letters as if they 
were doubtful eggs. The conditions of 
a single letter were that it should be 
written ' on one sheet.' The letters were 
held up to the light to show whether they 
required a surcharge for an enclosure. 
D. N., 1st August 1883. 

Candle-shop (Broad Church). A 
Roman Catholic chapel, or Ritualistic 
church from the plenitude of lights. 

Canister (Street). A preacher. 
Evidently a corruption of a street 
preacher whose name was something 
like, for instance, ' Kynaster ', and 
popularly Anglicised. (See Sky Pilot.) 

Cant. Sneaking, mean, lying, faced 
with assertion of religion. Probably 
first used opprobriously after the Refor- 
mation, when Canterbury fell out of 
grace for the time being, as the metro- 
polis of the English Church. Long 
after the destruction of the monasteries 
Kent was the headquarters of English 
beggars. It is so perhaps to this day. 
Dickens, who died in 1870, was always 
accompanied in his walks from Gad's 
Hill House by several mastiffs, which 
he declared were for his protection 
from beggars. The author certainly 
cleared the roads about Gad's Hill 
from beggars and the lieges as well 
for that matter, for the dogs were as 
fierce as Bismarck's. The abbey- 
loupers always begged with canticles 
in their noses and mouths, especially 
with the prayer to S. Martin, patron 
saint of beggars. Cant may be from 
Kent, Canterbury, or canticle, or all 
three, but it certainly means, as it 
meant, whining imposture on a basis 
of religion, as ' He doesn't preach he 
cants.' * Don't cant, Bert, or I won't 
pay a doit of your debts.' All the 
great writers of the eighteenth century 
use this word Swift, Addison, Dry- 
den, and many others. Dr Johnson, 
of course, gives the word a Latin origin 
' Cantus ' but does not say how 
the journey was made. In Scotland 
they believe the word came from two 
Andrew Cants, father and son, time of 
Charles II., and both very violent 

Cant of Togs 


Presbyterian preachers. But the word 
went north to them, the Cants did not 
send it south, ' I write not always in 
the proper terms of navigation, land 
service, or in the cant of any profes- 
sion.' Dry den. ' A few general rules, 
with a certain cant of words, has some- 
times set up an illiterate heavy writer 
for a most judicious critic.' The word 
in Ireland is still used for selling by 
bids. * Numbers of these tenants or 
their descendants are now offering to 
sell their leases by cant.' Swift. 

Terra del Fue*go is, as the cant phrase 
goes, beyond the sphere of British in- 
fluence for either ambition or greed, but 
it has not been forgotten by the British 
missionary societies. D. N., 14th May 

Cant of togs (Beggars'). A gift of 
clothes. Here the mode of begging 
for clothes affords a word to describe 
the present or benefit gained by cant- 
ing. Good example of low satire 
satirising itself. 

Can't see a hole in a forty-foot 
ladder (Colloquial). Drunk in the 
extreme degree, for such a ladder offers 
quite forty opportunities. 

Every night does my husband come 
home blue, blind, stiff, stark, staring 
drunk, till he can't see a hole in a forty 
foot ladder, sure. Comic Song, 1882. 

Can't see it (Peoples'). Reply in the 
way of objection, such as ' Do lend me 
five pounds ? ' ' Can't see it.' 

Can't show yourself to (Peoples', 
1880). Not equal to ; as thus : ' You 
can't show yourself to Jack Spicer ' 
or of a play ' It can't show itself to 
The Golden Prince.' 

Can't you feel the shrimps? 
(Cockney, 1877). I.e., Smell the sea. 
Heard on a Thames steamboat when 
approaching Gravesend, the metropolis 
of shrimps. (See Speak the Brown 
To-morrow, Taste the Sun, See the 

Cantillory Realism (Soc. t 1897). 
Onomatope applied to singing. The 
linguistic ' find' of 1897. Means sing- 
ing in which the sounds suggest the 
words sung. Very open to ridicule, 
but intended quite gravely. At once 
burlesqued where ' kiss ' was used 
the lips were smacked. If 'thunder' 
came in the words, the singer used all 
his bass voice, etc. , etc. 

Owing to his powers as a vocalist, Mr 
Louis James, of Walthamstow, may be 

on the high road to fortune ; but unless 
he promptly ceases to follow what the 
new-fashioned jargon calls cantillatory 
realism his rosy prospects may become 
overshadowed. D. T., 1st February 

Cap (Eng.-Amer.). Equivalent to 
' Sir ' but really abbreviation of 
' Captain '. Common in America 
gaining ground in England. 

'Fact, Cap,' asserted a bystander. 

Cape Smoke (Cape Town, S. A.). 
Indigenous whiskey of the colony, 
which is very cloudy in tone. 

Mr Cecil Ashley strongly insists on the 
terrible effects of the ' Cape Smoke '. At 
present this evil vapour may be bought 
at sevenpence a bottle, and traders 
wander about the country with waggon 
loads of it, which they almost force on 
the natives. Newsp, Cutting, 1878. 

Captain Bates (Been to see)? 
(Thieves' and Street). A satirical 
enquiry of the * How d'ye do ? ' 
character applied to a gentleman 
once more restored to ungrateful 
society after a term in jail. Captain 
Bates was a well-known metropolitan 

Captain Macfluffer (Theatr.). 
Sudden loss of memory on the stage ; 
e.g., 'He took Captain Macfluffer 
awfully bad.' Its origin is beyond the 
hope of discovery. Cut down to Fluff 
and fluffy. 

The prompter's voice is dumb in 
America. Actors and actresses there 
are alert and ready for their work ; they 
don't ' fluff '. Clement Scott, October 

Captain Swosser (Peoples'). Naval 
cousin of the military Captain Jinks, 
both blustering specimens of the 
services. Derived from a character of 

The inducements of Captain Swosser, 
of the Royal Navy, to have his portrait 
taken are far less than they were. 

Carachtevankterous (Amer.). 
Desperately wanting in self-possession. 
Perhaps an intensification of can- 
tankerous, which in its turn is a term 
beyond investigation. Both probably 
wild onomatopes. 

I have seen folks upon this river 
quiet-looking chaps, too, as ever you 
see who were so teetotally carachte- 
vankterous that they'd shoot the doctor 
who'd tell them they couldn't live when 



ailing, and make a die of it, jist out 
spite, when told they must get well. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Carambo, Caramba (Span. -Amer., 
going north, and passing to Eng.). 
Hearty good wishes but more honoured 
in the breach than the observance. In 
fact honestly translated, and loudly 
expressed to a departing friend might 
lead to the interference of any police- 
man with salvationary or even merely 
denominational tendencies. Meaning 
elegantly evaded in Spanish-English 
dictionaries. Much used in the 
extreme south - west of France 
especially at Tarbes. Implacable 
etymologists may apply at any Spanish 
embassy perhaps the Spanish door- 
keeper, if there be one, is the safest 
professor of Spanish to trust to, 
during this lingual search after useful 

Carara (European passing, 1898). 
A murderer who cremates his victim. 

As she was conveyed to prison the 
Mantes people shouted 'A mort la 
Carara,' giving her the name of the 
Italian mushroom merchant now await- 
ing trial in Paris for the murder of the 
bank messenger at Bicetre. D. T., 4th 
April 1898. 

Carding (Irish Fenian, 1867-82). 
A local torture. 

Cardings have very likely been rare 
in county Wicklow. A carding is a 
highly - spirited operation. About 
twenty persons, more or less well armed 
and disguised, break into a cottage, and 
subject persons who have basely paid 
rent to a more or less severe form of 
torture. According to the old Parlia- 
mentary reports, carders 'tool' with a 
board stuck full of nails, but perhaps 
modern science has provided, or modern 
spirit suggested, some less severe instru- 
ment of correction. D. N., 1881. 

Carlylese (Liter., 19 cent.). Bene- 
volent despotism, Tory democracy 

To him ' (Bismarck) says Mr Lowe in 
the middle -class Carlylese which he 
affects, ' to him the ballot-box was only 
a dice-box.' D. N., December 1885. 

Carnival (Amer., 1882). A fashion 
or sudden practice. 

It not unfrequently happens that such 
prominent events are followed by an 
epidemic or ' carnival 'to use a much- 
abused word of suicides and murder. 

Caroon (Peoples'). A five-shilling 
or crown piece. From Corona, and 

nearer the mark than the modern 
word. (See Cart-wheel.) 

Carpenter Scene (Theatr.). Cloth 
or flats, well down the stage, to allow 
of some comic dialogue while the next 
scene is setting. 

The old, feeble device of ' forward ', or, 
as they were sometimes derisively called, 
'carpenter' scenes because notoriously 
written only to give time for the building 
of more elaborate sets behind them 
have now almost entirely disappeared 
from the stage. Newsp. Cutting, 6th 
April 1885. 

Carpet-bagger (Amer. coming to 
England). A general term for a poor 
person who arrives with a carpet-bag, 
and becomes prosperous by audacity or 
unfair trading. Originated by the 
Confederates, as against the Federals, 
when after the civil war hungry and 
place-seeking political adventurers 
from the north were appointed to 
places in the conquered south, and, 
arriving in a poverty-stricken condition, 
soon showed signs of wealth and general 

Carpet Dance (Soc., 1877). A 
familiar dance for a few unfortunates 
in a drawing-room, as distinct from a 
large dance to which everybody is 
invited. It was voted bad taste to 
offer champagne at a carpet dance 
or indeed to drink any wine whatever, 
except claret. White soup was often 
served, and became as fashionable as 
rational, e.g., 'Do come and christen 
our new carpet with a valse or two.' 

Carried (Rhyming). Married; e.g., 
1 He was carried yesterday, poor bloke ' 
very ominous, and searchingly 
graphic. The word is obtained merely 
by supplanting the * m ' by a ' c ' but 
what a suggestion there is of harrying 
and rallying on the part of the bride ! 

Carriwitchet (Peoples'). A puzzling 
question. Probably an invented word, 
in itself suggestive of bewilderment. 
Or it may be from the name of a 
woman notorious for asking difficult 
questions say Carrie Witchet ! 

Carrots (L. Class). Red hair. 
This is an interesting instance of 
aggressive Anglicization. It has not in 
origin anything to do with ' carrots ', 
the colour of which has never yet been 
seen in association with human, or 
perhaps any other hair, except, 
possibly, that of one of the ' lemurs '. 


Carry me Out 

Cast-iron and Double-bolted 

It is a corruption from Catholic times 
in England when a red man or woman 
was called ' Iscariot ', the ' betrayer ' 
in the Roman Church, and especially 
in Rome where red hair amongst the 
people has always been a rarity 
because Judas Iscariot was historically 
supposed to have had red hair. The 
Protestant religion in England more 
or less parting with Iscariot, the 
historical name became associated with 
the vegetable, which, by the way, may 
have gained its name, seeing its colour, 
from the same source as did red hair. 

' Hello carrots what cheer now, 
my lad ! ' 

* Deceptive what can you expect of 
her ? Isn't she carroty? ' Indeed to this 
day there is a firm belief that red-haired 
women are faithless and deceptive 
probably from their frankness, possible 
rudeness, yet general desire to please. 
In Scotland ' carrots ' has degenerated 
into 'sandy', invariably applied to 
red-haired men, but never to women. 
Supposed by correctly thinking people 
to be a nickname for Alexander ; but 
really a substitute for Iscariot, and a 
good one, for there is plenty of ' sand ', 
or ' grit ', or ' go ' in most men or 
women with hair more or less auburn. 

Carry me out (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
A satirical expression, pretending 
defeat, humiliation, and pardon. 
Sometimes 'carry me out and bury 
me decent.' The latter portion is 
possibly an Irish addition. Derived 
from the prize ring, when the sense- 
less, defeated hero was, when quite 
vanquished, as scrappers once were, 
ignominiously carried out. Or it may 
be from cock-fighting, or both. The 
dead birds were certainly carried out. 

Carry on proper (Common Lond*, 
19 cent.). To behave well. 

Carsey (L. London). A house ; 
corruption of casa from the Italian 
organ-grinders in Saffron Hill district. 

If you're a bank director and broken 
up a thousand carsers of poor honest 
people, that's the time to do a guy. 
Neiosp. Gutting. 

Cart (Peoples', 18 cent.). A meta- 
phor for the gallows to which 
terminal its victims were jolted in a 
cart. Still heard in provincial places 
' You be on'y fit for the cart ' 
doubtless now used without the least 
idea of its original meaning. In 
London the cart travelled, only too 


often, several miles from Newgate to 
Tyburn Tree, whose site was that of 
the Marble Arch in Hyde Park. Used 
by all the dramatists in the last 

'I care not welcome pillory or cart.' 
Garrick, Abel Drugget'. 

Now would I sooner take a cart in 
company with the hangman than a week 
with that woman. Farquhar, The In- 

Cartocracy (Soc. t 19 cent.). People 
distinguished enough to keep carts 
especially dog-carts. (See Gigmanity. ) 

Carts (L. London). A pair of 
boots generally those of noble size. 
Onomatopoetic reference to the noise 
a young navvy can make with his 
understandings as equal to that of the 
passing waggon. 

Cartwheel (Peoples'). A five-shilling 
piece. From its noble weight and 
thickness. (See Crown.) 

Carve up (Amer.). To annihilate 

That dear grave holds a disappointed 
chap who cum out here from Reno to 
carve me up. Neivsp. Gutting. 

Case (Fast Life, 1850 on). Abbre- 
viated form of Casino, and referring to 
the rowdy cafes for which the Hay- 
market was once celebrated. The 
word has survived the abolition of late 
houses and the closing of public- 
houses at 12.30. The word is applied 
to any common public-house or con- 
fectioner's where the business carried 
on is not wholly one of stomachic re- 
freshments. * He kept a case for years 
in Pan ton Street ' may be from Casa. 
' Case ' is also thieves' English for a 
counterfeit five-shilling piece. 

Though Neal kept what is vulgarly 
known as a case, and was assisted in his 
unholy work by Mrs Neal, and though 
both of them at different times were 
concerned in the management or direction 
of other cases, he seems to have consi- 
dered it his wife's duty to remain,' etc. 
Ref., 16th March 1890. 

Casket (Amer.). Evasion of 
' coffin '. First mentioned in Webster, 
in edition of 1879. Coming to Eng- 
land slowly. 

When he got to the house the child 
was laid out in a handsome white casket 
that must have cost at least twenty 
dollars.^. Y. Mercury, 1884. 

Cast - iron and double - bolted 

(Amer., 1880). Samsonly strong. 

Cast an Optic 

Oat-meat Pusher 

Striking outcome of the spread of 
engineering work. 

' Stranger, onless yer made of cast-iron 
and double-bolted, ye hadn't better go 
in till the row is over ! '1883. 

Cast an Optic (Sporting). A para- 
phrase of ' look '. 

Cast skin, To (Soc.). To rejuven- 
ate from the serpent throwing off 
its skin annually, and coming forth 
radiant. Still used. 

'Why, sir, you've cast your skin.' 
Farquhar, The Inconstant. 

Castor (Street). A hat. Of course 
from the first hats being made of the 
fur of the castor, or beaver; passed 
down to the streets, where any hat is 
called a castor. Superseded by Gos- 

Casuals (Hotel). One-day stayers in 
luxurious hotels at marine and mineral 
water stations. From the casual, or 
night pauper, as distinct from the 
superior settled unionist. 

Another day the ' casuals ' at the hotel 
were mystified exceedingly by a care- 
fully printed programme announcing that 
a performance of wax-work would be 
given in the drawing-room. Newsp. 

Casualty (Peoples'). A black eye. 
From the first Soudan war, when 
slight injuries were cabled under this 

In one of these contests, in the affair 
of the Cross Causeway, indeed, Scott 
became what is now called a ' casualty '. 
He suffered a contusion. D. N.. 21st 
March 1885. 

Cat (Thieves'). Woman in general, 
and a bad one in particular. Sug- 
gested probably by her smoothness, 
the uncertainty of her temper, and the 
certainty of her claws. 

Cat and Fiddle (Hist.). A very 
common sign for a tavern until words 
supplanted rebuses, which were for the 
ignorant. The country arrival who 
could neither pronounce 'The Bac- 
chanals', nor understand these three 
dancing graces, could nevertheless know 
he ' was there ' when he saw as a painted 
sign the * Bag o' Nails '. The use of 
the house-sign was its power to paint 
the sound of a word or words by 
objects which had a relation of sound 
only to the actual meaning of the sign. 
Hence a goat and a pair of compasses, 
one of the Cromwellian signs after the 
Restoration, represented ' God encom- 
passes us.' Probably all the old 

Catholic signs, especially those on the 
road to Canterbury, are still in exist- 
ence. For instance, the rendezvous 
for the Blackfriars as distinct from the 
Southwark pilgrims was 'The Hand 
and Flower,' which lent itself readily 
to the painter's art. It refers to the 
Virgin and her emblem, the lily. This 
house was at the corner of Gravel Lane 
and Union Street, about half a mile 
from the Tabard, and it only lost this 
sign some thirty years since. The 
Cat and Fiddle is the ' Catherine 
fidele', probably broiTght over with 
the Conqueror, for 'a la Catherine 
fidele ' is still a common sign in Nor- 
mandy. Obviously the Anglo-Saxon 
knew nothing of the great saint of 
Alexandria but a painted Cat and 
Fiddle was quite within his means. 
Necessarily these signs were in the old 
parts of London, which in time became 
all the low parts of London. For a 
hundred years or more ' Cat and Fiddle' 
has meant a doubtful house, where 
thieves and loose women abound. 
He's come down in the world, has 
Jim. He keeps a Cat and Fiddle. 

Cat and Mutton Lancers (E. 
London, 1870). Name given to the 
militia in the district of Dalston when 
drilling in Cat and Mutton Fields. 
When time, elegance, and the wave of 
progress have swept these ' fields ' far 
away from their present elysium the 
term will remain an enigma. Probably 
from a chapel or chantrey (llth to 
15th century) dedicated to Catherine 
Martyr (of Alexandria). It is a good 
instance of human stupidity in accept- 
ing sheer ignorance as gospel truth 
that within the precincts of these fields 
a publican had for sign a cat running 
away with a leg of mutton ; his rebus 
perpetuated the absurdity. 

Cat-lap (L. tioc.). Tea and coffee ; 
terms used scornfully by drinkers of 
beer and strong waters. Cat-lap in club- 
life is one of the more ignominious 
names given to champagne by men 
who prefer stronger liquors. 

Bejl rings, and enter Emperor and 
Empress ; and then there takes place 
the general presentation. A vast crowd, 
but not much animation ; plenty of card 
tables, but few players ; no supper, but 
plenty of soup ; also ' catlap ' in abund- 
ance. Empress retires very soon ; Kaiser 
stays. News%). Cutting. 

Cat-meat pusher (Street}. A mer- 
chant of cooked horse-flesh, the final 


Cat o' Mountain 


term being derived from his truck 
albeit pusher means generally a maker 
or doer of something. Linendrapers' 
young men are calico-pushers, while 
the trimmers up of old clothes are 
called faker- pushers. 

Cat o' Mountain (Peoples'). A 
shrew. A very common example of 
confused origin, for whether this 
term comes from catamaran, a wild, 
over- sailed S. American craft, or from 
catamount (a panther) it would be 
difficult to say. Very common still 
in London street feminine statements. 
Yer catter mountin', go 'ome an' 
wash yer pore childring an' don't dare 
ter haddress me, mum ! 

Cat on testy dodge (Soc. 1870 on). 
A ladylike beggar worrying ladies at 
their houses for money if only a six- 
pence (tester), and bringing testi- 
monials in favour of some charitable 
institution. These 'cats', generally 
strong-minded ones, take commission 
on the sums they get. 

Catafalque (Fashion, 1897). The 
high plumed hat especially black 
feathered, which rose to its greatest 
height in 1897, towards the end of 
which year they were sometimes 
removed to laps by their wearers when 
in theatres and a good temper. 

The ladies with the huge hats have 
capitulated, and George Alexander has 
added another to his many conquests. 
At the last Saturday matine'e there was 
not a catafalque to be seen on any head, 
but towers of plumes in many laps. 
D. T., 25th November 1897. 

Cataract (Soc., '40's). Voluminous 
and many folded falling cravat, which 
swarmed over the length and breadth 
of the fashionable masculine chest. 

Cat-sneaking (Thieves'). Stealing 
public-house pots. Probably an easy 
disguise for ' pot '. Creatures of a 
felonious turn so fallen as to take to 
this trade would have little invention. 

Catch Cocks, To (Low Military). 
To obtain money by false pretences. 
Catch-cocks are contrived by character- 
less soldiers who address gentlemen, 
invent tales of distress, and often 
thereby obtain money. ' Joe, let's go 

In the Kensington Gardens a soldier 
told a gentleman that he lost his railway 
ticket, which was to take him to Windsor 
to join his battalion, and he would be 
punished if not at his quarters at a cer- 

tain time. The gentleman gave him the 
money for his fare, but saw the man go 
in a contrary direction to that of the 
railway station. He followed him, but 
he ran into a public-house and got out 
by the back-door, and the gentleman 
saw no more of him. He ascertained 
that he was a Grenadier Guardsman, 
and that his battalion could not be at 
Windsor, as the Fusilier Guards were 
there. There is not a day but soldiers 
are guilty of such disgraceful acts of 
' loafing ', and they glory in it. They 
call it, in the Guards, 'catching cocks' 
and 'throwing the hammer'. These 
terms may have a far more cogent or 
obscure meaning. Neivsp. Cutting. 

Catch on, To (Amer. probably 
from New Eng.). To make a hit; 
to succeed beyond question. 

'Come down to The Bric-a-brac and 
I'll show you some of the gentlemen 
thieves ; the fellows who have dis- 
covered a way by which they can 
commit highway robbery by daylight 
and in the presence of witnesses, and 
not to be amenable to the law', said 
Old Sport to the reporter. 'I don't 
catch on,' replied the reporter. 

' I don't catch on worth a cent ', sadly 
murmured the managing editor ; ' but 
as you have worked on the great dailies, 
I suppose it's all right.' Newsp. Cutting^. 

I hear that Miss Helen Dauvray is 
coming to the Prince's to play 'One 
of Our Girls ', the comedy which Bronson 
Howard wrote expressly for her. The 
piece seems to have caught on in the 
States. Newsp. Cutting. 

Catch-penny (Street}. Gutter 

The origin of the phrase 'catch- 
penny' is that after the execution in 
London of Thurtell for the murder of 
Weare (1824), a publisher named 
Catchpin printed a penny ballad 
entitled: We are Alive Again. When 
cried on the streets it sold to the 
extent of 2,500,000 copies, the persons 
buying supposing from the sound that 
the ballad had reference to Weare. 
It came, therefore, to be spoken of 
as a ' Catch-penny affair '. 

Catechism (Bankruptcy Court). 

Caterpillar (Soc., 1848 on). A 
ladies' school. (See Crocodile.) 

Caterwauling (Peoples'). Cat- 
music. Johnson gives up the attempt 
to derive this word. 'What a cater- 
wauling do you keep here. 'Shakes- 
peare (Twelfth Night). Used now 
only by the vulgar. 


Cats' Party 


'So I cannot stay here to be enter- 
tained with your caterwauling.' Gay, 
Beggars' Opera. 

Cats' Party (Sporting}. Chiefly 
women. Probably from the high 
tone of women's voices. 

Upon one occasion she was at a party 
given at 88 Adelaide Road. It was termed 
a 'cats' party', owing to the number 
of ladies who were present. (Laughter.) 
Mr Justice Butt: Descriptive of the 
music, I suppose. (Laughter.) Divorce 
Court, Dunn v. Dunn & Wall, 1st 
February 1888. 

Caucus (Amer.-Eng.). Vehmgericht, 
or council of many tens, who secretly 
combine on a given line of action. 
The word came from U.S.A. about 
1870. Primarily 'caucus' like 'gueux' 
in Flanders (16th century), and 
'frondeur' in France (17th century) 
was a term of reproach, which was 
adopted by the party attacked with 
this word ; and used by themselves to 
distinguish themselves. Very wide 
in its application. Mr Joseph 
Chamberlain has done much 
to popularise this very important 
wor d not yet admitted into 

Gordon, in his history of the American 
Revolutions, says, ' About the year 1738, 
the father of Samuel Adams, and twenty 
others who lived in the north or shipping 
part of Boston, used to meet to make a 
caucus and lay their plan for introducing 
certain persons into places of trust. 
Each distributed the ballots in his own 
circle, and they generally carried the 
election. As this practice originated in 
the shipping part of Boston, caucus 
may have probably been a corruption 
of caulker's meeting.' (1830). 

'The House of Lords', says Mr 
Chamberlain very truly, 'has become, 
so far as its majority are concerned, a 
mere branch of the Tory caucus a mere 
instrument of the Tory organisation.' 
D.N., 9th October 1884. 

'Then the noble lord says I am the 
Birmingham caucus. This description 
is flattering as to my influence and 
ability, but it is a total mistake.' Mr J. 
Chamberlain, House of Commons, 30th 
October 1884. 

Caucus-monger (Political, 1883). 
A political agitator. Introduced by 
Lord Randolph Churchill (1883), and 
accepted by the Conservative party as 
representing the average radical. 

They now knew beyond all manner 
of doubt, that on the 4th of May last 
the Government of Ireland was handed 

over to Mr Chamberlain, the caucus- 
monger of Birmingham and to Mr 
Sheridan, the outrage-monger of Tub- 
bercurry Lord Randolph Churchill. 
Dinner at Woodstock, 27th February 

Caulk, Calk (Naval). Go to bed 
and to sleep, probably from tucking 
in the clothes under you in the 
hammock or bunk, and so suggesting 
the action of caulking a seam in the 
vessel's side ; also used for a short 
sleep forty winks: ' I'll caulk it out.' 
From this word grows out ' caulker'. 
Four of Irish hot; i.e., four penny- 
worth of Irish whiskey. Quite uaval, 
and equal to the mere landsmen's ' night- 
cap ' caulk meaning to make all tight 
and weather safe. 

Cave (Cave of Adullam) (Polit., 
1866-97 on). A secret political com- 
bination distinct from illegal con- 

You recollect a new institution brought 
into the House of Commons at that time 
(1886). It is called the 'Cave'. Into 
the ' Cave ' entered, as was historically 
correct, all the discontented those who 
did not like the Bill on the opposite side 
of the House, and some on our side who 
did not like it ; and the result was that 
the Bill was destroyed, and the destruc- 
tion of the Government followed it. We 
supposed the ' Cave ' would come into 
office. They came into office, not all the 
' Cave ', but some of them. J. Bright : 
Bright Celebrations, Birmingham, June 

Many of you will no doubt remember 
that a strenuous effort was made by the 
Opposition in which they were joined by 
some ' Cave ' men from our side to frus- 
trate the Government Bill, which was 
rejected, and the Government itself over- 
thrown. John Bright, Leeds, 18th 
October 1883. 

Cave Dwellers (Soc., 1890 on). 
Atavists people whose habits are on a 
par with those of the pre-historic 

A certain mining camp of cave-dwellers 
was wont to beguile its Sabbaths by 
tying up in the same bag a cat, a terrier, 
a monkey, and a parrot, and speculating 
on the issue. Newsp. Cutting. 

Caved out (Amer.-Eng., 19 cent.}. 
Come to an end finished. From the 
metal ceasing in a tunnel. The end of 
the vein. 

Cawfin (Marine). A badly found 
ship. Corruption of 'coffin' name 
given as suggestive of a sailor being as 



Chamber of Horrors 

bad as dead who sailed in her. Became 
popular when Mr Plimsoll forced his 

Celestials (Theatrical). Gallery 
occupants, a synonym of ' gods ' 
from their superior position to pit and 
even boxes. 

One of the ' celestials ' visiting Toole's 
Theatre (pulled down in 1897) recently 
complains that, although he was elevated, 
his seat wasn't sufficiently high to enable 
him, with Tarn o' Shanters and Gains- 
boroughs on the heads of the ladies in 
the upper boxes, to see more than the top 
of the scenery.^/., 5th October 1884. 

Cellars (Street). Boots. Probably 
because these apartments are the lowest 
necessities in connection with ordinary 
sumptuary arrangements. (See Garret. ) 

Centipedes, The (Military). 100th 
Foot. From the insect of that name. 
One of the punning regimental cogno- 
mens. (See^~ and XL's.) 

Cess. See Bad cess to ye ! 

Chain lightning (L. Class, Lond.). 
Potato spirit, imported from Germany. 
Filthy mess poisonous to a degree. 
Smuggled chiefly. 

On telling him the charge he exclaimed, 
1 It's all nonsense ; I only gave her 
some chain-lightning,' which he under- 
stood to be some foreign spirit. D. N., 
22nd December 1885. 

Chair Days (Soc.). Old age. 

Why should a cruel and humiliating 
malady torture the kindly, upright, con- 
scientious spirit, and rack the strong, 
temperate bodily force spent in the service 
of his age, deserving, if any ever did, 
easy ' chair days ' and the supreme 
blessing of the natural euthanasia of old 
age ? Sir E. Arnold, writing of Glad- 
stone's death, June 1898. 

Chair Warmer (Theatrical Anglo- 
Artier.). A beautiful or pretty woman 
who does nothing on the stage beyond 
he 1 ping to fill it. 

Kichard Whalen fired a pistol shot at 
Carrie Howard, a ' chair-warmer ' at 
Esher's Alhambra, St Louis, at the close 
of the performance on Friday night. A 
' chair- warmer ' is a lady whose talent 
is comprised in her physical charms, and 
who can neither sing, dance, nor act. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Chairmarking (L. Industrial, 19 
cent.). Secret markings of licences 
and employes' characters by masters, 
foremen, and others. Probably mark- 
ing by the chairman or master. 
On 4th August 1894 (see D. T.) a 

complainant, whose name did not 
transpire, by a solicitor, summoned a 
cab-proprietor for (through his foreman) 
marking a licence with secret signs. 

What two witnesses for the com- 
plainant regarded as ' chairmarking ' 
was some additional writing in the date 

Mr Hopkins (the magistrate at West- 
minster) said it is possible that the 
licence is marked in a manner to be 
understood in the trade, but if cabmen 
are able to combine to make their terms 
they have a powerful union of their 
own why should not the proprietors also 
combine and by marking a licence in a 
particular way, let it be understood that 
the holder of it is not a desirable person 
to be employed ? They are entitled to do 
it. D. T., 4th August 1891. 

Chalk against (Peoples'). Resent- 
ment or desire for explanation. In the 
last century when very few of the 
smaller shopkeepers could write, a 
score was kept in chalk on a square of 
wood. (See Hogarth's Distressed Poet. ) 
It is most figuratively used to desig- 
nate an unsettled misunderstanding 
or grudge. (See Score,) 

Chalk marquis (Peoples'). A false 
marquis. Never applied to any other 
title than this. Probably the result 
of some forgotten pun or play upon a 

Chalk out (Peoples'). Distinct 
directions. Nothing so vivid as this 
in any well-known modern language. 
' If you miss it now you are a 
juggins. I've clean chalked it out.' 

Challik it oop (Theatrical). A 
grotesque request to obtain credit 
the primitive way of marking up a 
credit in public-houses before edu- 
cation was extended. 

Chamber of Horrors (Soc.). The 
name of the corridor or repository in 
which Messrs Christie (King Street, 
St James's) locate the valueless 
pictures that are sent to them from all 
parts of the world as supposed genuine 
old masters ; sent, as a rule, with 
directions to sell at certain prices 
most preposterously fixed very high. 
Phrase borrowed from Madame Tus- 
saud's wax-work, where this chamber 
is coloured black, and filled with the 
effigies of murderers. 

Chamber of Horrors (City). Room 
at Lloyd's (Royal Exchange) where 
are ' walled ' notices of shipwrecks and 
casualties at sea. 




Champagner (Mus. Hall, 1880). 
Lorette. Within the last twenty years 
the marvellous increase in the con- 
sumption of champagne or what 
seems like it to the unlearned in wines 
has been most marked. Directly 
the tap - stopper was invented and 
c fizzing ' Yvine came to be sold by 
the glass, the ladies who chiefly fre- 
quent the better parts of music-halls 
at once showed their elegance by de- 
serting gin, rum, and other horrors for 
this less damaging, however adul- 
terated, drink. Hence the poor souls 
who could not command the ' sparkling' 
and its adjuncts, either from want of 
good looks, good breeding, or good 
clothes, assimilated the new popular 
drink and its female consumers. 

' Oh, bless you, she won't speak 
now she's quite the champagner.' (See 
Tip- topper.) 

Champagne Shoulders (Soc., 1860). 
Sloping shoulders. From the likeness 
to the drooping shoulder of the cham- 
pagne bottle as distinct from the 
squarish ditto of the sherry or port 

Champagne Weather (Soc., 1860 
on). Bad weather said satirically. 

Champion Slump of 1897 (London, 
1897). Motor car. On and after 
Lord Mayor's Day of 1896 the motor 
car claimed English highways for their 
own. On the 10th there was a pro- 
cession from Westminster to Brighton, 
with such a lamentable result that 
the ' slump ' or catastrophe prefaced 
1897 for some time. 

Has the great motor car demonstration, 
which was to revolutionize British 
humanity, fizzled off into this? D. T., 
15th February 1897. 

As this year wore on a dozen or so 
of pale yellow motor-cabs, which came 
to be satirically styled ' The Butter- 
coloured Beauties,' made their appear- 
ance. But they had not plied for hire 
three months before one of them killed 
a hanger-on boy with its back wheel 
gear, while in November a driver went 
drunk and amok with his motor-cab ; 
the two in combination doing consider- 
able damage. 

By the end of November they were 
called the ' Margarine Messes ', which 
grew out of their first satiric name 
'The Butter Beauties ' from their 

Towards Christmas the motor once 
more took to its initial behaviour 
and ran away. 

The Champion Slump of 1897 was not 
appreciably modified by the natural 
history of the motor car in 1898. 

Chancellor's Eggs (Legal). Day- 
old barristers. 

Every term a new batch of what were 
once humorously called ' Chancellor's 
eggs 'is incubated.. D. T. 

Change breath (Amer. tavern). 
Take a ' go ' of whiskey this certainly 
does change the smell of the breath. 

The other day as three or four of the 
old boys were sitting around the stove 
in Schneider's sample room stirring in 
the grated nutmeg, Bill Matson came in 
to change his breath. 1882. 

Chant (Sporting, 1886 on). To 
swear the last satirical popular verb 
to describe ' language '. 

Chanting -ken (L. London). A 

Chapel (Printers'). Secret meeting 
and decision. The congregation of 
unionists in a * shop ', to confer upon 
any given matter of trade, or even 
personal importance. Little notes are 
sent about, a chapel never being called 
at a moment's notice. They generally 
take place at tea-time, when the 
assembly sit in some quiet corner, 
drink their tea quietly, and as quietly 
discuss the question. Probably from 
' chapter 'especially as printing in 
England dates from the chapter-house, 
Westminster Abbey. (See Garret.) 

Chapper (L. London). Mouth 
from associations with chaps, chops, 
and cheeks. 

Chapper, To (L. London). To 

Chappie (Soc., about 1880). Re- 
placed chum, which had become vulgar. 
There was quite a friendly meaning in 
the word ; it was by no means con- 
temptuous, and thereby varied from 
the meaning put upon * Johnny ', 
which appeared about this same time. 
Dropped rapidly in the world, and 
vanished from society in the '90's. 

The hue of vine and mulberry just now 
is delicious, and makes us regret some- 
what that the Mulberry Gardens liked 
by Pepys when the ' chappies ' and 
' Johnnies ' of his day did not carry him 
off to ' Fox Hall,' have made way for the 
peculiar ugliness of Buckingham Palace. 
D. N., 1882. 


Charity Bob 

CJieshire, TJie 

Charity Bob. The quick, jerky 
curtsey made by charity school-girls, 
now (1883) rapidly passing away. 

A little mite about eighteen inches 
high on the O.P. side wins loud applause 
for her correct rendering of the charity 
bob. Newsp. Cutting. 

Charley (Street, 1662-1829). Lon- 
don street watchmen. 

In New Boswell Court might be seen 
until recently (1868) a relic of the light 
of other days in the shape of an ancient 
box (which used to be drawn up from 
the pavement during the day), fitted 
for the protection of those slow, anti- 
quated, muffled -up guardians of the 
night, covered with their many-caped 
dark coats, called watchmen. ... At 
length the Charley found himself one 
fine morning superseded by that ad- 
mirably constituted and well organized 
body, the new police, as modelled by 
Sir Robert Peel, who appeared in the 
London streets for the first time, 
20th September 1829. Diprose's Cle- 
ment Danes, vol. i. p. 101. 

Between the bellmen and the London 
watchmen there was always a close 
alliance, and in the reign of the Merry 
Monarch, from whom the Charlies took 
their name, their identities were more or 
less merged. D. T., 17th January 1894. 

This same word is used by ' the 
general' to describe women's breasts 
when well developed. It is said this 
term also comes down from Charles II., 
and refers to his many mistresses, who 
certainly displayed their charms as 
never women did before. Wilder 
etymologists assume the word to come 
from Carolian French 'cher lis' 
referring to the painted whiteness of 
the attribute in question. 

Charlie Freer (Rhyming, Sporting}. 
Beer ; e.g., 'He can put down Charlie 
Freer by the gallon, he can.' 

Chateau Dif (S. Exchange). A 
grotesque play upon Chateau d'If. 
Here the exchange is the castle of diff, 
or diffs i.e., ' differences ' on settling 

Chatham and Dover (London public- 
rhyming). l Over. ' This phrase 
is generally used as a pacificating one 
in a tavern quarrel, a friend will 
say, ' Come Chatham and Dover it' 
meaning give it over. 

Cheap beer (Police). Beer given 
by publicans at night-time to officers. 


' There are innumerable publicans who 
make a practice of allowing this "cheap 
beer ", and it is tacitly understood that 
all cases will be treated leniently in 
which those houses may choose to form 
the scene of future action. The first 
enquiry of a constable whose beat is 
changed to his brother officer, who 
shows him ' ' his new relief ", is, which 
are the houses where "cheap beer" may 
be relied upon to be ready when punctu- 
ally called for.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Cheat (Thieves', 18 cent.}. Gallows. 
Fielding's Jonathan Wild. 

Check up (Gallery, Theatrical). 
To 'check up' is to obtain entry to 
the gallery, not by the ordinary mode 
of payment, but by waiting at the 
bottom of the gallery stairs and asking 
passers out, ' Have yer done with yer 
check, sir?' the pass-out check, by 
production of which the holder 
obtains re-admission to the theatre. 
When the applicant gets the check, 
he 'ups' at once the gallery stairs. 
Theatrical managers hold that these 
transfers are not legal, but magis- 
trates, certainly in London, will not 
convict checkers-up if brought before 
them upon charges of fraud. ' I've 
checked up three times this blessed 
week ! ' said the youth. ' I checked 
it up I wasn't goin' to pay no bloomin' 
shillin'. ' 

Cheek-ache (Artisans'). Blushing 
or turning red in the face rather for 
the meanness of another than your own. 
' I got the cheek -ache over him.' 

Cheeky (Peoples'). Adjective form 
of cheek smart sauciness. 

Cheese and Crust (Low Classes). 
Exclamation perversion of Jesus 
Christ. Frightful at first sight, this 
phrase suggests a slight sense of 
respect by its veiling of the oath. 
Also a little touching as being a 
phrase associated with comfort to 
those amongst whom comfort is little 
known. (See Corkscrew.) 

Chen (Soc., 1840-55 and on). A 
charming woman. Derived from 
Madame Montigny, of the Gymnase, 
Paris. Her stage name remained Rose 
Cheri. She was a singularly pure 
woman, and an angelic actress. Word 
used by upper class men in society, 
in the ' forties ', to describe the nature 
of their mistresses. Word now forgotten. 

Cheshire, The (Peoples' 19 cent.). 
Perfection. Figure of speech, a meta- 

Cheshire Cats 


phor wherein the perfection of Cheshire 
cheese is made to stand for perfection 
itself. Good example of homely coin- 
ing of words, e.g., ' She's the Cheshire 
I can tell you.' A variant is ' That's 
the Stilton.' Charles Steyne was very 
funny as the ratcatcher, who calls 
everything ' the Cheshire '. 

Cheshire Cats (Provincial). Ami- 
able result of adjacent county criticism, 
that of Lancashire. Chiefly used in 
association with the comparison to 
'grin like a Cheshire cat'. Cat may 
have been derived from kit 

Chest Plaster (Theatrical, 1883). 
Satirical description of the young actor 
of the day by his much older and more 
' legitimate ' brother actor. From the 
heart-shaped shirt-front worn with a 
very open dress waistcoat, and starched 
almost into a cuirass. ' Bah he is 
but a chest plaster humbug.' (See 
Shape and Shirt.) 

Chesterfield (Soc.). A long, white 
coat originally made with capes 
now applied to white coats generally, 
but sometimes to blue (1840-50). Good 
example of qualifying name being used 
for the object qualified. 

Chestnut (Amer.-Eng.). An old 
joke offered as new. Brought to Eng- 
land officially in 1886 by A. Daly's 
Company at the Strand Theatre in ' A 
Night Off', where the heroine tells the 
hero the play was found in an 'old 
chest ' to which he replies, * Very old 
chestnut ! ' 

Chevalier Atkins. See Tommy 

Chevaux de frise (Lit.}. Friesland 
Horse, or cavalry a tangle of spikes 
set at right angles as a rule. The Dutch 
had no cavalry in the 17th century. 
Invention of the Frieslanders ; named by 
the French (17th century) in scorn of 
Dutch enemies. Good example of a 
phrase by its construction suggesting 
an apparently more obvious meaning, 
for the frise suggesting 'friser', the 
temptation to write Cheveux-de-frise, 
as describing the tangle, has in many 
instances been fatal. 

Chevy-chase (Rhyming}. Face in 
common use. 

After listening for a while her 
chevy - chase gets serious looks. 
Ncivsp. Gutting. 


Chew into dish-cloths (Amer., 
1882). To annihilate. 

The wolf came down with his ears 
working with delight, and had only 
reached the earth when the goose sprang 
upon him and chewed him into dish- 
cloths. New American Fables. 

Chic (Franco-English, 1865 on) 
Dash, smartness. 

' Chic ' in its original acceptation 
meant simply ' trick ' or ' knack ', and 
was applied to dexterity of performance 
before it acquired its application to 
elegance of result. A painter, for in- 
stance, was said to have 'du chic' 
that is, the knack or dodge of using 
his brush with effect. It was only later 
that a 'stylish' toilette was described 
as displaying the same quality. The 
phrase came in, if we remember rightly, 
in the early sixties, and with the vogue 
of Offenbachian opera-bouffe. G. A. 

Chicago Reform Lawyer (Amer.- 
Eng., 1890 on). A lawyer of lawyers 
from the fact that Chicago is supposed 
to be the most alert spot on the mere 
earth. 'No he's not an American 
advocate he's a Chicago reform 

She devotes herself to finance, looks 
after railway interests and her bonds, 
assisted therein by her son and daughter, 
who lives with her, and she defies even 
a 'Chicago reform lawyer' to get the 
better of her. Z>. T., 10th February 1897. 

Chickaleary - cove ( Costermongers', 
1860). A perfect personage. Intro- 
duced into society above the gutter by 
Vance, a comic singer, who used the 
word in a song-chorus. ' I'm the 
chickaleary cove, with my one, two, 
three' the numbers probably refer- 
ring to the mere trinity of blows 
required to floor the enemy. 

The barrowman's one aim and ambition 
is to be chickaleary. D. T., 6th April 

Enterprising clothiers at the East End 
make the construction of 'chickaleary' 
attire a leading feature of their business. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Chi-ike (A nglo-Amer. 19 cent.). A 
distance call used by American 
trappers, and borrowed by them from 
the Red Indians. ' Hullo don't chi- 
ike me like that over there you'll 
wake Westminster Abbey.' 

Mr G. A. Sala (D. T. , 28th August 
1894) says of this phrase. ' Chi-ike ! ' 
I have not the remotest idea when this 
slang cry was first heard or what it 


Choke off, To 

means. Emitted, however, from a 
powerful pair of lungs, * Chi-ike ' could 
be made almost as far-reaching as the 
Australian cry, 'Coo-ee'. Often sent 
in unfriendly salute by street arabs 
along the street. ' Whoa-chi-ike ' 
addressed to a 'toff'. 

And then a crowd got round and 
began to chi-ike the couple. Gutting. 

Chinwag (Hist.). Talk. 

I have not been out of my pyjamas all 
day and no further from the tent than to 
the next one for a 'chinwag'. People. 
August 1898, Letter from near Klondyke. 

Chin-music (Costers' defiant talk}. 

One of the toughest fights Geoghegan 
had ever was with Jim M 'Govern. The 
two had indulged in a lot of 'chin 
music' on various occasions, and finally 
met in a saloon on the Bowery and 
Hester street one winter's night, when 
it was snowin' hard. Newsp. Cutting. 

Chin-chin (Naval passed into club 
society). 'Hail!' 'Good health!' 
' Here's to you ! ' ' Chin-chin, old chap. ' 
The answer is * Pa-pa '. Origin obscure, 
probably ' Same to you ! ' Dates 
from the Chinese of Singapore. '"We 
went into the temples, and our pockets 
were not rifled; we went into the 
prisons, and we were not brained by 
manacled villains ; we mixed in crowds 
and were never hustled ; and the only 
cries we heard were ' Chin, chin ! ' or 
' Pa, Pa ! ' which means welcome or 
good fellows. Clement Scott, D. T., 
1st August 1893. 

Chip in (Anglo- Amer.). To join in 
discussion ; to subscribe money. 

' Gentlemen, let's chip in enough more 
to buy her a new dress. I'm a poor man, 
but here's a quarter for the old lady.' 
Neivsp. Cutting. 

Chirrup, To (Music-hall, 1886 on). 
Applaud, cheer. The word was made 
classical on 5th March 1888, when a 
m&n was 'sent' for a month as the 

alternative of being hissed if they did 
not ' stump up '. This case killed the 

Pike, the stage-doorkeeper at the 
Canterbury, proved seeing the prisoner 
for some time carrying on the system of 
obtaining money for what in the slang of 
the gang is called ' chirruping '. He had 
seen the prisoner receive money, and had 
cautioned him. Police Court Report. 
6th March 1888. 


Chiv(e) (Historical}. A knife. 
Said to be Romany, but it may be a 
curtailment of She v vie, as the metro- 
polis of knife manufacture, Sheffield, 
is called to this day. If so, on all 
fours with ' jocteleg ' Jacques de Liege 
who manufactured in the 14th 
century a splendid knife, long before 
Sheffield rose to glory. 

Chiv is used on the stage. ' I've 
had to be chivved.' Mr H. Marston 
(1870) meaning stabbed in the course 
of the piece. 

Presently Selby pulls out a chivy 
(knife), and gives Big Tim a dig or two 
one on his arm and one at his face, and 
another at his leg. Big Tim says to me, 
' Costy, I've got it a bit thick ; suppose 
I give him a bit of chivy, and see how he 
likes it.' Then we all laughed, and Big 
Tim pulls out the chivy, and makes a dig 
or two at him. People. 6th January 

Chiv(e) - fencer (Criminal). One 
who harbours, fences, wards off from 
arrest murderers. 

' He's a chive fencer, the director of a 
railway, or a swell. ' Newsp. Cutting. 

A chive-fencer is also a purveyor in 
the streets of cheap razors and knives. 
Chivy (Criminal). Relating to the 
use of the knife. 

Chivy Duel (Thieves'). A fight 
with knives. 

A 'Chivy' Duel Described by a 
c Costy.' At South wark evidence was 
given in the charge of 'intentionally 
and maliciously wounding and inflicting 
grievous bodily harm on each other by 
stabbing each other', preferred against 
two men, etc. People, 6th January 1895. 
Chivy, To (Hist.). To hunt down, 
worry. A corruption of Cheviot 
(Hills), whence this kind of attention 
was much practised by the early Eng- 
lish of the north when swinging into 
the Cheviots after the cattle stolen, or 
to use the more northern term 
' lifted ' by the Scotch more or less 
all along the border. 

'Which a pore cove were never 
chivied as I'm chivied by the cops.' 

Choice Riot (Street, 1870). A 
horrid noise, such as the festive mar- 
row bones and cleavers. Mildly 
satirical. * That there baby's making 
a choice riot.' 

Choke off, To (Peoples', 18 cent. 
on). To get rid of. From the neces- 
sity of twisting a towel or other fabric 
about the neck of a bull-dog to make 


Chronic Rot 

this tenacious hanger-on let go his 
biting hold. Used against persons of 
pertinacious application. 

' Choke off' in the U.S.A. means to 
reduce a pleading man to silence. 

Choker (Peoples'). A lie, in its 
most direct form. ' What a choker ! ' 
such a bare-faced lie that the hearer 
is nearly choked. Also applied to very 
large neckties and for similar reasons 
the huge adornment appearing to 
choke the wearer. The masculine 
choker was at its greatest in England 
in the time of George IV., and the 
fashionable lead of Beau Brummel, 
when it was over a yard in length. 
Now and again a choker breaks out 
about the masculine neck, but in the 
'80's and '90's it was steadily replaced 
by the * ties '. The feminine choker 
is always with us, and assumes a new 
shape once a month. 

Chokey (Sailors'). Imprisonment 
derived from the narrow confines of 
the ship's lock-up and the absence of 
ventilation chokey generally being 
fixed as near the keel as conveniently 
it can be managed. However, some 
authorities maintain that this word is 
an Anglicising of the Hong- Kong 
Chinese ' Chow Key ' a prison. 

Been run in ? Been locked up ? Been 
in chokey ? What ! what do you take 
me for? Who are you blooming well 
getting at? Who're you kidding? 

In a very short time the whole of them 
were safely in the chowkey. The parties 
implicated have been brought up at the 
Fort Police Court, and committed for 
trial. Bombay Times. 

Chonkey (Land. Street). A meat 
pie derivation beyond the bounds of 
mere discovery. Probably from the 
name of a once historic pieman, whose 
fame remains a name alone. 

Chop up (L. Class ; last cry of the 
19th century). To annihilate ; a 
variant of cut up. 

Chopping (Nursery). Big, lusty, 
handsome. Johnson says : 

' A child which would bring money in 
the market ' suggested by chopping 
and changing. ' Perhaps,' he says, after 
admitting all the etymologies to be 
doubtful ' a greedy, hungry child, 
likely to live.' 
< Both Jack Freeman and Ned Wild 

Would own the fair and chopping 
child.' Fenton. 

Chortle, To (Peoples'). To sing. 
Probably an onomatope. Chortled 
like the nightingale, and smiled like 

Many present on Boxing Night fully 
expected that when he appeared he 
would chortle a chansonnette or two. 
Ref., 29th December 1889. 

Mr Wilford Morgan has been engaged 
to chortle the famous song, ' Here's to 
the maiden of bashful fifteen ! 'lief., 
18th August 1886. 

Chortle also means to praise exces- 
sively. ' Joe chortles about his kid 
pretty loudly it's 'is fust ! ' 

It seems a curious time for an Ameri- 
can critic to chortle over the recent 
success of Miss Minnie Maddern Fiske. 
D. T., 31st March 1897. 

Chouse (Peoples', 17 cent. ). A cheat, 
to cheat. Henshaw derives it from 
the Turkish word chiaus, an inter- 
preter, and referring to an interpreter 
at the Turkish embassy in London in 
1609. He robbed the embassy right 
and left. In 1610 Ben Johnson in 
The Alchymist made the word classic. 
' What do you think of me 
That I am a chiaus ? ' 

Johnson has this word, but his 
modern fine brethren have rejected it, 
though Johnson gives Swift and Dryden 
as his authorities. ' Freedom and zeal 
have choused you o'er and o'er ' (Dry- 
den). ' From London they came, silly 
people, to chouse' (Swift). Butler 
also uses it in Hudibras. 

Chow-chow (Anglo-Ind. ). A hash, 
or resurrection pie, from Hindustanee 
word for mixed confectionery. 

Christ-killers (Peoples', 19 cent.). 
Jews. Passing away chiefly used by 
old army men. ' What can you ex- 
pect? he's a Christ-killer. Pay up 
your sixty per cent. , and try and look 
pleasant ! ' 

Christen a jack ( Thieves'). A grim 
use of baptismal ceremony to replace 
the name on a stolen watch by another, 
to defeat detection. (See Church a 

Christmas (Oh) (M. Class). Evasive 
swearing. Used by Rudyard Kipling 
in The Day's Work. Of course it is 
' Christ's Mass '. 

Chronic (M. Class, 1896). Ceaseless, 
persistent. * Oh ! Joe's chronic.' 
* Charley's Aunt's chronic ' said of a 
piece that ran perpetually. 

Chronic Rot (Peoples'). Despair- 
ingly bad. Rot may or may not be 



Chuck up the Sponge 

from erotic ; it is more likely an appli- 
cation of the original meaning of the 
word ; but it is now quite understood. 
Chronic is used in its original appli- 
cation ; feutmore widely as ' Oh, that 
theatre's chronic' means that never 
is a good piece seen there. These two 
words intensify each other. * Jack's 
swears to swear off ' (drink) ' is chronic 

Chuck (Naval}. A biscuit hard 
tack (see). Probably an onomatope 
from the noise made in chewing, or 
perhaps from the hand - broken 
biscuit (for to snap it with the teeth 
were out of the question), being thrown 
or chucked carelessly into the mouth, 
which is the tar's mode of coaling up. 

Chuck, To (Old Eng.). To fling. 
Johnson gives half a dozen meanings 
to this word, but not fling, which is its 
most forcible meaning. Everything is 
chucked amongst the common folk, 
from a farthing or a chunk of bread, to 
a wife or a mistress. Now applied to 
the process of divorce. 

She had three children by him and 
two by some other fellow, which is the 
habit of some great ladies, so Sir John 
chucked her. Newsp. Cutting. 

Jones and Dimsdale were arrested in 
court, as they were heard to say, refer- 
ring to the evidence against the prisoner 
Foster, ' He's sure to get chucked ' a 
slang expression for discharged. Police 
Report, November 1890. 

So I takes the knives away and chucks 
them over a bridge. Selby then picks 
up an iron bar, and makes a drive at Big 
Tim, but T catches hold of it, and stops 
him. Cldvey DueL People, 6th Janu- 
ary 1895. 

They would blush a maidenly pink if 
certain words were uttered in their 
presence, and then shake off with relent- 
less severity and austerity any erring 
sister who has, in modern parlance, 
'chucked everything'. D. T., John 
Strange Winter, 5th August 1899. 

Chuck a Chest (Street). Generally 
said of a soldier who has a full bust. 
To throw forward the chest, as though 
prepared to meet the world. 

Chuck a Dummy (Tailors'). To 
faint. Very interesting as illustrating 
the influence familiar objects have in 
framing new ideas from the similarity 
of a falling fainting man to an over- 
thrown or chucked tailor's dummy a 
ligure upon which eoats are fitted to 
show them off 1 for sale. ' I chucked a 


dummy this mornin', an' 'ad to be 
brought to with o-der-wee !' 

' Chuck it out, Creswick ' then 
manager of Surrey. 

'Yes, and chuck it out quick, cully,' 
observed Sir John Adamant. Cutting. 

Chuck a Shoulder (Costers'). To 
turn away said chiefly by the male 
coster of the female; e.g., 'Which 
she chucked me a shoulder, an' not the 
one I want an' 'av been on hice ever 
the mortal since.' 

Chuck a yannep (Back Slang). To 
throw a penny. 

' The Lord loveth a cheerful giver ' ; 
but there's no use chucking a yannep 
into the collection plate loud enough to 
make the people in the back seats think 
the Communion service has tumbled off 
the altar. Cutting. 

Chuck his weight about, To 
(Milit.). To demonstrate his physical 
magnificence generally said of any 
soldier who is showing off, but more 
particularly one of the household 
brigades. ' So 'e turned up, and 
chucked 'is weight about all over 
the blooming place he did.' 

Chuck out ink (Press Reporters'). 
To write articles. 

Suddenly it came across my mind that 
the boss might be waiting about for me 
somewhere with a big boot and genteel 
language, and that it might be better 
for my health if I chucked out ink. 

Chuck over the lug (Peoples'). To 
thwack over the ear lug being high 
Scotch for the auricular. (See Poultice 
over the peeper, One over the gash.) 

Chuck up, To (L. London). To 

Did she mean, we says, to chuck us 
up ? Of course she did, says she, flaring 
up like a mill on fire. Cutting. 

1 But after all, cullies, being mashed on 
a dona is nothing ; it's when the bit of 
jam chucks you up that is the stinger.' 

Chuck up the bunch of fives 
(Pugilistic). To die. The one poetic 
figure of speech engendered by the 
prize ring. The fives are the two sets 
of four fingers and a thumb the fists 
the ' bunches ' flaccid in death. 
* Pore Ben 'e's been an' gorne an' 
chucked up 'is bunches o' fives.' 

Chuck up the sponge (Prize Ring). 
To admit defeat by way of a pugilist's 
attendant, at his chiefs failure, 
throwing up the sponge with which he 

Chuck your Money about 


has been refreshing his principal. This 
custom was, and is, applied to death. 
All trades yield these figurative modes 
of referring to birth, marriage, death, 
and money. 

'Bill chucked up the sponge this 

Chuck your money about (Street, 
1894 on). A satirical but good - 
tempered reproach cast at meanness, 
or insufficient reward. ' Jack you've 
done me a real good turn yere's the 
price of a pint.' To which Jack may 
reply, ' "Well you do just chuck your 
money about you do ! ' 

Chuck-barge (Naval). Cask in 
which the biscuit of a mess is kept. 
Also equivalent to bread-basket. (See 

Chuck-bread (Beggars'). Waste- 
bread, that which would be thrown 
away but for mendicants. ' No chuck - 
bread for me.' 

Chuck-out (L. Theatrical, 1880 on). 
This verb has the force of ' vigorous'. 
1 Can't he chuck it out ? ' would mean 
that a singer or actor has a powerful 
delivery. Therefore the recommenda- 
tion 'Chuck it out' is equal to 
' Louder if you please ' of the public 

Chuckaboo (Peoples'). A name 
given familiarly to a favourite chum. 
No meaning ; but probably the 'chuck' 
is a conversion of ' duck '. 

Chuckaways (London). Lucifer 
matches graphic description of the 
act of rejection after the match is done 
with. Bill' I want a light got 
any chuckaways?' (See Bryant and 

Chucked all of a heap (Street). 
Fascinated, ravishingly overcome, 
mashed, enthralled. 

When he gazed upon her soft and 
gentle beauty, and heard the gurgling 
sound which smote his ear like the 
rushing of many waters he was chucked 
all of a heap. Gutting. 

Chucker - in - Chief (Public-house). 
A prince amongst mere chuckers-out. 

The magnificent figure of the gentle- 
man, who was late literary adviser to 
Gussy (Sir A. Harris, of Drury Lane 
Theatre) and chucker-in-chief , is now to 
be seen nightly at the Princess's, where 
its owner finds his services appre- 

Chucker-out (Public-house, 1880). 
The name given to a barman who turns 
out noisy tavern customers. Chuckers- 


out are simple and compound. The 
first argues the case, he being gener- 
ally not a giant of strength. The 
' compound ', who gets his name pro- 
bably from his size large enough for a 
' compound ' of men ' bounces ' with- 
out a word which he seldom has. 

Chuckers-out are of two blooming sorts 
generally simple and compound. The 
simple chucker-out is sometimes a bit 
barmy in the crumpet, and is only kept 
for the sake of show, and to prevent the 
sweet tarts behind the bar hollering out. 
. . . He's a warm 'un, is the compound 
chucker-out. You generally find him at 
music-halls and about the bars of pubs, 
which blokes use that aren't afraid of a 
couple of black peepers. Gutting. 

Chucking-out Time (Lond. Public- 
house). Half-past twelve, the closing 
hour for metropolitan taverns, when 
those who do not go willingly are 
' chucked out '. 

Chuffy (Peoples' ; rare). Surly ; e.g. , 
' Don't be chuffy ' probably from the 
behaviour of one ' Ohuffs ' who may 
have once been powerful in the cadger 

Chum (Universal). A familiar 
friend. This term is probably the 
only one that has steadily remained 
patronised by all classes. Dr Johnson, 
who always sought the unexpected, 
says this word is c Armorick '. He 
adds, ' a chamber fellow ' ; a term used 
in the universities. 

' The princes were quite chums.' 

' I had a chum, etc.' Fielding, Tom 
Jones, book viii. , ch. 2. 

'The two actors were very, very friendly 
indeed. We dressed in the same dressing 
room, and were very friendly. In fact, 
Mr Crozier bought some colours from Mr 
Franks on Saturday, I believe.' The 
Coroner : ' They were what is called in 
vulgar parlance "chums".' Witness: 
' Yes. I never knew them to have any 
quarrel or speak any angry words to 
each other.' Evidence of Mr C. Lillford 
at an inquest upon Crozier, an actor 
accidentally killed at the Novelty 
Theatre, London (10th August 1896). 
D. T., 14th August 1896. 

Chump (Peoples'). The head. 
Chump initially is a fine onomatope, 
being the sound made by horses in 
grinding oats. Hence the use of the 
word to represent head, of which the 
dentition is only part. Then extended 
to the human head. (See ' Orf Chump ', 
C 0rf his Chump'.) 



Spain had her flirtations, and Marie 
Antoinette was frivolous and fond of 
pleasure until she lost her chump. 

Take off yer blooming 'at ; take off 
yer blooming chump as well. Said in a 

Chump (Ang.-Amer., 1895). Equi- 
valent to Juggins. A youth (as a rule) 
who is in any way cheated of his 
money especially by the so-called 
gentler sex. 

What's a chump ? ' Say, pa, what's a 
chump ? ' asked young Tommy as his 
father was taking him out walking. 
'See that young man in there?' (they 
were just passing an ice cream saloon) 
said the father, pointing in. ' Yes, I see 
him ; the one with the girl in the red 
dress ? ' ' Yes ; well, he's buying ice 
cream for his girl with money he ought 
to save to buy his lunch with till next 
pay day. He's a chump.' Gutting. 

Chumps Elizas (London, Five 
Pounder Tourists', 1854 on). A 
grotesque pronunciation of Champs 
Elyses still in Paris. 

Church a Jack, To (Thieves'}. To 
remove the works of a watch from its 
case, and put them in another, of 
course with the view of destroying the 
identity of the article. (See Christen 
a Jack.) 

Church-bell (Rural). A talkative 
woman. ' Ah ca'as ma wife choorch 
bell, cas 'er's yeard arl over t' village/ 

Church parade (Soc., 1885 on). 
The display of dress after morning 
church. Quite the thing to carry 
prayer books. Began in Hyde Park ; 
imitated now all over the country. 

Mr Button asked, with respect to some 
wearing apparel which prosecutrix paid 
4c for on delivery for Mrs Gardiner, 
whether she did not part with the money 
to enable ' the countess ' on the following 
Sunday to accompany her to the Church 
parade in the Park. Prosecutrix : 
'Church parade was never mentioned.' 
D. T., 17th March 1893. 

Church-piece (Soc.). A threepenny 
piece the smallest silver the genteel 
mean can put in the absurdly-named 

Churched (Com. Lond.). Married 
amongst the common ; attendance 
at prayers after childbirth amongst 
higher-class women. The commonest 
possible term amongst lower classes for 
marriage, and singularly expressive as 
marking the distinction between ordin- 
ary come-together marriage, and the 
real ceremony. 

He did grand before we was churched, 
and used to blarney and call me good- 
looking, and squeeze my blooming waist. 

Churchyard Cough (Peoples'). A 
fatal cold sometimes in these later 
times synonymised by 'cemetery 
catarrh '. 

Churchyard Luck (Peoples'). The 
' good fortune ' which the mother of a 
large family experiences by the death 
of one or more of her children: e.g., 
1 Yes, mum, I hev brought 'em all up 
ten boys, and no churchyard luck 
with it.' Said by a Liverpool woman 
to a district-visitor. 

Cigareticide (Soc., 1883). A word 
invented to meet the theory that the 
cigarette is the most dangerous form of 
smoking. More common in America 
than in Great Britain. 

That young man's grit is indeed re- 
markable in this age of dudisrn and 
cigareticide. Cutting. 

Cinder (Peoples', 19 cent.). Hot- 
especially alcoholic heat, e.g., 'That's 
a cinder for him.' 

He had been a teetotaller himself for 
seven years, and really left his last 
lodgings because the landlady was too 
fond of putting 'a cinder in her tea', 
that is to say, flavouring her Mazawattee 
with a plentiful supply of rum. D. T.. 
12th May 1896. 

Cinder-knotter (Navy). A stoker 
very descriptive, and necessarily 
modern, phrase ; for he does knot the 
living coals into heaps. 

Cinder-sifter (Fashion, 1878). A 
hat with open-work brim, the edge of 
which was turned up perpendicularly. 
On all fours with the poke bonnet, 
called 'coal-scuttle', or the high 
collars introduced by George III., and 
styled gills. 

Cinderella (Society, 1880). A dance 
which ends at twelve the name 
fancifully suggested, it is not known 
by whom, in reference to that success- 
ful young professional beauty who, at 
midnight, was by force major com- 
pelled to give up dancing. Adopted 
in France 1880. 

N'ayez pas peur, ma chere, ce n'est 
qu'une Cendrillon ; a minuit finis et 

The hours at which balls begin grow 
later and later. The stroke which sends 
the last guest hurrying away from the 
Cinderella dance scarcely ushers the first 
arrival to a season ball. D. N., 27th 
March 1884. 



Clare Market Cleavers 

Circlers (Theatr.). Occupants of 
dress - circle. Applied with envious 
derision by the pit. 

Circs (City, 1860). Abbreviation 
of ' circumstances '. 

The Duke and Duchess of Teck patron- 
ized the performance of Jolanthe at the 
Savoy Theatre on Monday last. Under 
the circs I am disposed to exclaim, 
' What extravagance ! ' Gutting, August 

The royal couple at this date were 
about economising by leaving England 
and going to ^umpenheim. 

Circuit Rider (Amer., provincial). 
A peripatetic preacher. 

There was no ' circuit rider ' or other 
evangelical authority to be relied upon. 

Circumbendibus ( Peoples'). Evasion 
adopted probably from some author 
playing with Latin formation based 
upon circumlocution. ' He allowed 
the accusation by a circumbendibus.' 

Circus (Amer.) Excitement, ad- 
venturefrom the pother created when 
a wandering circus heaves in sight. 
A circus is the most favourite form 
of American provincial amusement. 

Lafayette got the check cashed and 
spent the money, and then Coghill found 
out that he had paid Lafayette just three 
times too much for the Louisiana lands. 
Then there was a circus. N. Y. Mercury, 
23rd May 1885. 

The next day old Hays and young 
Hays started out in search of Reed's 
companion Stephens. The pair found 
Stephens in his room. He made a 
desperate fight, but there was no ' circus ' 
this time, the two Hays bein' too many 
for the one Stephens. Cutting. 

City Road Africans (Street, 1882). 
Hetairse of that quarter. Origin 
not known. 

City sherry (Peoples', E. London, 
1880). Four ale, which in colour may 
be said to resemble the worst descrip- 
tion of sherry or the highest quality of 
rectified varnish. The East London 
people have a modified mistrust of 
those living amongst them, who get 
their living in the city, especially of 
the great body of exclusive clerks, 
whose general poverty they satirise in 
many ways, of which this is one. 
' City sherry ' used to be the basis of 
a great perennial practical joke at the 
'European,' once a prosperous tavern 
in the Poultry (E.G.), where this 
liquid was set out in imperial half 
pints and royal array on the counter 


awaiting the 'ready' pennies of the 
passing public. The humble little 
joke took its rise from this opportunity 
of helping oneself to these drinks with- 
out calling for a barman, and then 
planking the money down. 

Country cousins were told that 
tumblers of city sherry were given 
away at this particular house all day 
long. The victim was taken in, was 
handed a glass of fourpenny from the 
counter, while the operator gave a well- 
known wink to the attendant barman 
who instantly comprehended this joke. 
When the wondering eye of the coun- 
try cousin was off the counter the 
town relative paid for the drinks. 

This 'sherry house/ the European, 
fell before the improver at the end of 
1884, and the jocular ' halves ' ceased 
to be drawn for ever. However, city 
sherry, in the City, is still cloaked 
satire for a pretended ' free drink'. 

Clackbox (Hist. ). Male or mascu- 
line of chatterbox generally applied 
to a woman, and especially a girl. 
This word rarely comes to town. 

Claim (Ang.-Amer.). To recognise 
in travelling. In a railway carriage 
one may frequently hear the enquiry 
' Surely I claim you we met at Suez ? ' 

Clamp (N. Eng.). A kick, from 
the name given to the heavy boots 
clamped or tipped with iron. Very 
formidable weapons. 

Clap-trap (Theatrical). Common- 
place. Trap to catch a clap from the 
audience, as : 

' The man who lays his hands upon 
a woman, except in the way of kind- 
ness, ought to be yard-armed.' 

Clare Market Cleavers (Strand). 
They were the butchers in this once 
densely populated place now a sixty 
yard street. The rival community was 
Seven Dials half a mile away with 
which country there were frequent 
wars. The glory of Clare Market 
began to pitch in 70, rocked in the 
early '90's, and was practically gone 
in '98. The Cleavers were great 
fighters, Princes in Clare, and heavy 
blackmailers of newly-married couples 
of that ilk who were always obliged 
with a concert of marrow-bones and 
cleavers. These cleaver serenades 
had to be paid for. 'Oh he's a 
cleaver bloke I can tell you.' As 
it has been said, the glories of Clare 
Market and her cleavers began to 

Clare Market Duclc 


fade in 70. Her commercial and 
butcherly bravery, beginning in the 
west at Drury Lane, and swinging 
south-east down to Temple Bar, with 
a dash over into Strand Lane (see 
Diprose's St Clement Danes), fell 
before the demands of the new Law 
Courts. Two-thirds of the parish were 
swept away ; and with the old crowded 
houses the Clare Market customers. 
The butchers shared in the fall but 
they still remained a combined power 
in the old slaughter-houses, until in 
the '80's their ' cleavin ' propensities 
ended in a steel fight, which finished 
one of the later cleavers. Resulting 
precaution, and two School Board 
schools slowly suppressed the cleavers , 
who vanished, while the market faded 
into a mere street. 

Clare Market Duck (19 cent.}. 
Baked bullock's heart stuffed with sage 
and onions which gave a faint resem- 
blance to the bird. The term is one 
of those satirical associations of cheap 
food with luxurious dishes, of which 
there are several specimens. (See 
'Billingsgate Pheasant,' 'Two -Eyed 
Steak,' etc.) 

Clarkenco (Polit. ). A new political 
party. When the Gladstone Government 
went out (June, 1885) and that of Lord 
Salisbury came in, Mr Ed. Clarke, Q.C., 
who was expected to get office was left 
out in the cold. He was supposed to 
lead a new party which took the place 
of that led previously by Lord R. 

'Mr Edward Clarke and Co.', as the 
new Fourth Party is called in the House, 
will let the Churchill lot 'have it' at 
every convenient, and at several incon- 
venient, opportunities Ref., 19th July 

Claw-hammer (Amer.-Eng.). Tail- 
coat, accepted in England about 1880. 
Description of the divided tail, like in 
shape and lines to the claw of a 
hammer. (See Bobtail. ) 

Clean Time (Amer.). A figurative 
expression for honesty ; derived from 
the old phrase, ' clean hands '. ' He 
never would do the clean thing. ' 

Clean tuckered out (New Eng.). 
Utterly exhausted probably from the 
name ' Tucker '. 

He was clean tuckered out all but his 
eyes (and he could just barely turn them 
in his head) and his bill. Newsp. 

Cleavin (Glare Market). Boastful 
from the Clare Market Cleavers 
(1750-1860) the king-butchers of that 
once popular market who were the 
equal pride and terror of that place, 
terror because of their readiness to 
fight, pride, because of the warfare, 
continual and unflagging, they carried 
on over the border amongst the Pict- 
pockets and maurauding Scots of the 
adjacent Drury Lane. They made 
much coin by marriage in the neigh- 
bourhood, and far around by their 
rough marrow -bone and cleaver 

Clicker (Printers'). The sub-fore- 
man in printing office. Gives out 
copy and conveys orders from foreman 
to men. Probably contemptuous, and 
from the French Claqueur. The 
clicker also puts the type into pages. 
Most obscure phrases or words in print- 
ing come from France. 

Climb in on, To (U.S.). To over- 
come easily, to get the better of 
another by cunning. 

* I climbed in on him proper.' 
Dr Hall says it is very unhealthy to 
live on the ground floor of a house. 
Doctor's right. A fellow's creditors can 
climb in on him with so little trouble. 
Newsp. Cutting. 
To lower pride. 

Climb the Golden Staircase, To 
(Amer.). One of the U.S.A. equiva- 
lents to the Latin 'join the majority'. 
Edward's Folly Dramatic Company is 
reported as having climbed the golden 
stairs. The cash assets are alleged to have 
been carefully secured in a pill box. 

D'Arcy and his company, with Josie 
Batchelder as star, climbed the golden 
staircase last Monday. They are said to 
have been kindly assisted on their tour 
homeward by sympathizing citizens. 

Climb the Mountain of Piety, 
To. To pawn ; from the first govern- 
mental pawnshop being situated on a 
height in Rome called Monte di Pieta, 
so named, of course, from a group of 
the dead Christ and the Virgin called 
in art a Pieta. 

Mr Candy : On one occasion, I think, 
you had to resort to what is called 
' climbing the mountain of piety ' ? 
Evelyn v. Hulbert, D. N. t 15th April 

Clinger (Sail-room). A lady who 
holds on in waltzing; e.g., 'She's a 
bad 'un to go, but she's a real clinger.' 


Cock and Bull Story 

Clobber (Jewish, E. London). 
Superior, or rather startling clothing. 
In Hebrew KLBR '. 

' My high look at Beck.' 

Clobbered (N. Eng. Prov.). Well 
nourished and dressed. Common in 

1 Eh, he looks well clobbered.' 

Clock (London). A dynamite bomb, 
when carried in a small square Glad- 
stone bag. Took its rise in the 'SO's, 
during the dynamite scare, when a 
dynamiter, being stopped by a police- 
man and asked what he had in his 
bag, replied ' A clock '. 

Clock stopped (London, Peoples'). 
No credit. 'No tick* hence the 
clock has stopped. ' No tick ' means 
1 no ticket' given by master or other 
to obtain credit. 

Cloddy (Dog Market). Aristocratic 
in appearance. Applied to human 
beings by some divisions of the lower 

"E's a cloddy bloke don't yer 
make no mistake about it ! ' 

A bull-dog should be low to the ground, 
short in the back, and thickset. An 
animal that possesses these qualifications 
is known as one of the ' cloddy ', the 
correct expression among dog-fanciers. 
D. T., 13th November 1895. 

Close out, To (Amer., 1883). To 
finish. Quite local until recently. 
Now sometimes heard in England. 

Do not close out the last of your soup 
by taking the plate in your mouth and 
pouring the liquid down. Cutting. 

Clou (Theatr.). From the French. 
Equal to ' heart ' or central idea of a 
tale or drama. Of course, literally 
' nail ' upon which the piece or book 

Whatever may be the decision arrived 
at, the case will be memorable as fairly 
placing before the world entirely op- 
posite views as to the degree of copy- 
right in the central idea, or c clou ', as 
it is called in France, of a drama or 
romance. D. N., 4th August 1883. 

' The field of the French writer is almost 
unlimited. He writes for men and mar- 
ried women. His first thought when 
hammering out the clou or mainspring 
of his play is " What shall I do with my 
adulteress?"' G. W. Gilbert, D. N., 
21st January 1885. 

Clouded over (American). Over- 
whelmed by misfortune. (See Bound 
to shine.) 

Clove-hunters (Amer.- Eng.} Fre- 
quent nip-drinkers, especially between 

the acts of a play, when the nibbled 
clove vainly sought to hide the higher 
perfume of the alcohol. Came to be 
used (1884) for the refreshment itself. 

Pleasing example of modern meta- 

A belief prevails among Union 
Square Theatre patrons that the trick 
chairs which adorn the auditorium were 
designed to trap and hold in place be- 
tween the acts clove -hunters. N. Y. 
Mercury, December 1884. 

Coal-oil Johnny (Amer. coal oil 
fields). The derivation of this word 
is interesting. Many of the unedu- 
cated and more wasteful men who 
struck oil squandered their money, 
while Johnny in American is the 
equivalent of English Sammy, Sappy, 
or Softy hence a coal-oil Johnny was 
at first a suddenly enriched coal-oil 
miner, who wasted his easily-gained 
wealth. The term soon spread, and 
stood for a description of a stupid, 
extravagant, vulgar person. 

He played a ' coal-oil Johnny ' career ; 
treated to champagne by the basket, 
had the handsomest carriage and pair in 
the city, and paid cabmen five dollars to 
drive him a few blocks. Newsp. Gutting. 

Coal Sack (People?). Cul de sac- 
one of the most egregious Anglicisa- 
tions in the language. 

' Which we bolted up a blind alley, 
and found ourselves in a coal sack.' 

Coal up, To ( Trade. Stokers'). To 
feed. ' Let's coal up on bread and 
cheese nothing better, sonny.' 

Cock (Printers', 1874). In throw- 
ing types to decide who shall pay 
for drinks or other matters, by the 
number of nicks which turn up, the 
types used sometimes catch together, 
and do not fall flat on the imposing 
stone, the general arena for these 
adventures. ' That's a cock ' is said 
abbreviation of ' cock and hen '. The 
question is once more tried. 

Cock and Bull Story (Peoples'). 
Every etymologist has had an attack 
of analysis of this phrase, which Sterne 
uses as his abrupt and unintended 
termination of ' The Sentimental 
Journey'. No one has solved this 
difficulty. Possibly a phrase on all 
fours with ' By hook or by crook, ' ' A 
miss is as good as a mile,' etc., and 
meaning ' A. Cock, and D. Bull, story' 
and may refer to two witnesses of 
these names in some once notorious 


Cock and Hen Club 


Dr Brewer of course goes off at score 
upon this phrase. He says : ' A cor- 
ruption of " a concocted and bully story ". 
The catch-pennies hawked about the 
streets are still called cocks, i.e., con- 
cocted things. Bully is the Danish 
bullen (exaggerated), our bull-rush (an 
exaggerated rush), bull-frog, etc., etc.' 
All this is confused, contradictory, 
wanting in relation of parts. Probably 
corruption of perchance Cockaigne 
Bill a forgotten teller of inconsequent 
tales like the more modern Mrs 

Sir Francis Jeune said the petitioner 
had shown a great deal of carelessness. 
His wife told him a cock-and-bull story 
about having been married before, and 
he took no steps to verify it until some 
years afterwards. Sir F. Jeune, Div. 
Court, 29th October 1896. 

Cock and Hen Club (Soc., 1880). 
One of mixed sexes then spoken of 
contemptuously probably because they 
had not at that date quite succeeded. 

He takes advantage of his wife's 
absence from home to ' make a night of 
it', and take supper with a strange 
young lady at a club which, I believe, 
would be called of the cock-and-hen 
order. Carados. 

What are described as working men's 
clubs (often enough falsely described 
thus), very early breakfast clubs, cock- 
and-hen clubs, with one or two other 
clubs whose names and descriptions will 
to the initiated suggest themselves, are 
all flagrant and distinct violations of the 
Licensing Acts. Ref., 19th May 1889. 

Cock of the Walk (London, Sporting, 
18 cent.). Leader derived from cock- 
fighting, or from farmyard, where 
one cock alone holds the central 

Directly you get up one or two steps 
in the ladder, you want to be cock of 
the walk Cutting. 

Cock one's chest (Navy}. To throw 
the chest out, after the manner of vain 
creatures. Generally used with the 
addition 'like a half-pay Admiral' 
not a full-pay, mark you. 

Cockatoo (Austral., 1880). A small 
farmer. The name is given by the 
squatters or sheep breeders to the 
agriculturists, from the cockatoos 
following the movements of the farmer 
over his land, especially at sowing 
time. The word is offensively used, 
for there is, or perhaps it is better 
to say was, bitter war between the 
settled farmer and the unsettled 

squatter, whose sheep often ruinously 
injured the unenclosed agricultural 
stretches, while too frequently, it is 
to be feared, the squatter made a path 
for his sheep, even where an enclosure 
had been made. The squatter still 
knows the cockatoo has the sympathy 
of the legislature, and he c hates him 
accordingly '. 

Cocked Hat, To knock into a (18 

cent.). To conquer, tumble about in 
all directions. Perhaps no phrase is 
more obscure than this. It is probably 
one of the expressions which result out 
of a change in dress, especially where 
the change is associated with political 
movement. The hat which preceded 
the cocked was the cavalier, which 
possessed a flat flopping brim, above 
which showed the white feather, 
which swung round and trailed 
between the shoulders. Hence arose 
the Puritan term for cowardice 
showing the white feather this 
dancing adornment displaying itself 
very ineffectively when the cavaliers 
took to flight, which they did upon 
occasion. The cocked hat might 
figuratively be described as a cavalier 
hat, whose brim had been knocked 
up and in by three spaced blows 
round the circumference. Now as the 
cocked hat came in with the Guelphs 
and the Whigs, it can readily be under- 
stood that the Jacobites accepted the 
new cocked hat as a head-gear that 
had been assaulted by cavaliers hence 
probably a Jacobite term, * I'll knock 
the Whig into one of his own cocked 
hats ' an idea so practical that it was 
accepted by the people. It has lasted 
to this day, when the three-cornered 
cocked, or up- turned hat has absolutely 
vanished in England except amongst 
mayors and aldermen, and by way of 
the black cap worn by judges while 
uttering the death sentence. The 
tricorne is still worn in Germany, and 
even in France and Italy. 

I thought that was the worst play I 
had ever seen, but Nadine knocked it 
into several cocked-hats. Newsp. Cutting, 
8th March 1885. 

Wilson Barrett licka everything else 
into a cocked hat. Newsp. Cutting. 

Cock-linnet (East London). A 
dapper boy, a tiny buck from the 
East End of London, where bird fairs 
are held every Sunday morning. It 
is also rhyming slang for ' minute '. 
81 F 



1 Hold on for a cock linnet now 
barney.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Cocks (Dispensing chemist). Con- 

Cock-sure (Sporting, 1 8 cent. ). Abso- 
lutely certain. In the good old days 
of cock-fighting the vanquishing bird 
always crowed but never until he 
was quite sure, by various modes of 
proof, that his enemy was either 
dead or insensible. Then he gave 

Used disparagingly in these later 

In the identification of prisoners police 
constables sometimes blunder, and rarely, 
if ever, hesitate. They are very 'cock 
sure' in their evidence. D.N., 8th 
December 1884. 

Cocker up, To (Chaunters'). To 
make a horse look young for sale. 
Evidently from the French ' coquet ' ; 
the more likely that Chaunter is cer- 
tainly from Chanteur an unscrupulous 
and daring cheat. 

Cockowax (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
Obscure used satirically. ' Hullo 
my cock'owax.' Probably corruption 
of cock of wax, which may have been 
said in cock-fighting days of a bird 
which had no mettle in him a poor 
soft, waxy, creature, opposite of cock 
of the walk. 

Cock-pit (Political). A convenient 
place for settling a sanguinary quarrel. 
From the pit or enclosure in which the 
cocks fought, and which would become 
much blood-stained hence the name 
was given to that portion of a warship 
to which the wounded were taken for 

England cannot consent to make Egypt 
the cock-pit in which the diplomatic 
intrigues of Europe are to find a new 
arena. D. N., 21st January 1885. 

Cocoa (Nautical). Comic shape of 
Toko (sec). Schoolboy expression, 
probably from Negronia. When a 
word has become time-weary, it is 
often newly editioned by being ex- 
changed for a well-known word which 
rhymes with it. 

Charlie Wyndham and W. H. Vernon 
must mind their eye, or Onesimus will 
give 'em 'cocoa' before long. Newsp. 

Cocotte ; Cocodette(Franco-English 
1860-70). Non-virtuous French, or 
other young woman of large income. 
The second is to the first as a first 
officer is to the captain. 

In the circle of cocottes, and cocodettes, 
by which the French Court has during 
the last fifteen years managed to sur- 
round itself, fast American women have 
furnished no inconsiderable contribution. 

Cod (Printers'). A fool; e.g., 'the 
fellow's a cod.' 

Cod (Peoples'). Humbug, swindle, 
more generally coddem, cod em, cod 

Cod, To (Thieves', 18 cent.). To cod 
is to cheat meanly by way of familiarity 
in relation to eccentric erotics. To 
comprehend this term an intimate 
acquaintance with Balzac's Vautrin is 

Cod, To ( Theatr. ). To flatter ; e.g., 
' Don't try to cod me ' from Coddem 
a game of deception. 

Cod (Trade. Tailors'). A drunkard. 
The word is suggested by the fallen 
cheeks and lips' corners which are some 
of the facial evidences of a drunkard, 
and which certainly suggest the 
countenance of a cod, which fish, 
furthermore from its size, is typical 
of huge drinking. ' He's a bigger cod 
every day.' 

Cod, Coddem (Mid. Class). To 
ridicule by appealing to the sanity of 
one codded. 

' Cod ' is peculiar as a word signifying 
ironical chaff, and perhaps it has not 
much to recommend itself beyond its 
brevity. Stage, 21st August 1885. 

I don't know all the perfessionals. 
Irving don't play coddem in our tap- 
room. Cutting. 

I hear that at the end of Adelphi 
Terrace there is a theatrical club where 
coddem is now the favourite pastime. 

Shoreditch isn't what it was ; but 
there's some fun in the old village still. 
You can show off your Sunday togs in the 
Aquarium. You can play coddem. 

Cod-bangers (Great Grimsby and 
Billingsgate). Gorgeously arrayed 
sailors. Good example of an obscure 
phrase or word having a solid founda- 
tion. The cod are brought in alive 
from the North Sea to Great Grimsby, 
and are knocked or banged on the 
head as wanted for market. The 
fishermen in this trade make, and 
waste, considerable money. They 
keep to the blue worsted jersey, but 
it is complicated with rich silk squares 
hauled round the neck, and by fre- 
quent rings. This gorgeousness has 



Cold Coffee 

begotten the half-contemptuous, half- 
envious name. It has spread to 
Billingsgate and beyond the cod-trade. 
'Whoa yere comes a cod-banger.' 
The word may also have another 
meaning, easily sought and found. 

Coddem (L. Class). A tavern game 
for from two to say ten, and the equi- 
valent of the American bluff or brag. 
All the shapes of this word come from 
Coddem, which is played by the 
operators dividing into two sets each 
set seated opposite the other a table 
between them. One side have a bean, or 
other small object the hands belong- 
ing to this side are lowered under the 
table, the bean is placed in one of the 
hands, and all the fists are brought up 
in a row on the table. The other side 
now have to guess where the bean is. 
He must not touch the fists, but he 
points to one, and says either ' tip it ' 
or ' take it away '. If he says ' tip it ', 
the hand pointed at is opened, and if it 
is empty, the other side has lost one, 
and the holders of the bean score one. 
Then they begin again, and again 
bring up their fists. Now as to the 
other term ' take it away ' ; upon this 
direction, the owner of the hand 
pointed at takes it off the table if it 
is empty. On the contrary shows 
the bean if it is in his hand then 
the other side loses another point. 
This hand being lowered, the guesser 
begins again with the remaining hands, 
until he either guesses right, or again 
loses a point all of which may appear 
to the reader very simple. On the 
contrary, it is one of the most psycho- 
logical games ever invented. It calls 
for immense intelligence, and there is 
not probably a village in England 
without its champion codder a man 
who invariably wins at this game. 
When a guess is right, the bean passes 
to .the other side that has guessed 
rightly. Money is won or lost at 
this game but the process is too com- 
plicated for clear explanation. 

Codger (Peoples'). Roystering, 
ageing, boon companion. The 
earlier dictionaries will have nothing 
to say to this word, which does not 
appear to have come from the Persian 
or other equally next-door language. 
A modern dictionary describes him as 
a stingy, clownish fellow, whereas he 
is rarely stingy, and never clownish. 
There was, until perhaps 1880, a 

Codger's Hall for political discussion 
and drinks, under the shadow of 
S. Bride's, Blackfriars. Word pro- 
bably invented itself, in the gutter, or 
near about. Byron first gave it house- 
room in an occasional address to 
'Thomas Moore', 'Oh you who are 
all, etc. 5 Learned etymologists assume 
this w r ord to come from cogito, but do 
not suggest the itinerary. Nor indeed 
do codgers ever think. They have no 
time for cogitation. 

Codocity (Printers', 1874). Stupidity 
capacity for being codded. 

Coffee- and -B. (Night Tavern, 
1880). Coffee and brandy. 

On being served the barmaid asked 
him to treat her. He inquired what she 
would have, and she said coffee and 'b .' 
He asked what she meant by ' b ', and 
she said brandy, or as they called it 
' coffee and cold water'. Newsp. Gutting. 

Coffee-sisters (Germany, 19 cent.). 
Malignant gossipers. From the 
women drinking in coffee and scandal 
at the same eager moment. Much 
after the use of the word tea-talker in 
England. What is she a mere 
coffee-sister. ' 

A well-known society lady in Germany 
is credited with the statement that coffee 
not only keeps those who indulge in it 
wakeful and gay, but is likewise endowed 
with the mysterious ' virtue ' of bringing 
to light all the vices of a not too-populous 
city. And it is well understood that 
herein lies the attraction it has for the 
critical sisterhood of mature German 
ladies known as ' coffee-sisters ', or, as we 
should say, gossips. -#. T., 26th Septem- 
ber 1895. 

Coigne (Printers'). A clever trade 
term for money. A play upon coin 
and coigne, or coin, or quoin, a wedge, 
generally named thus in printing 
offices. Pun suggested by the force of 
coin as a wedge, and a wedge as a 

Gascoigne, I am willing to believe, has 
little ' gas ' about him, and not more 
coigne than he knows what to do with. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Coker-nuts (Low London). Well- 
developed feminine breasts. (See Prize 

Cold (London Tavern). The anti- 
thesis of ' warm with ' and ' hot with ' 
(sugar). Cold is short for cold water. 
Hence, the usual order in times of 
heat is ' Three of cold 'say gin. 

Cold Coffee (Artisans' Secret, 1874). 
Beer. In some offices, especially in 

Cold Cook 

Cold Snap 

some printing houses, beer is only 
allowed at certain hours, while coffee 
is admissible at all times. Coffee- 
house mugs are therefore kept, and the 
errand boys go for * cold coffee '. The 
coffee-hoiise keeper has the beer ready, 
and to such an extent was the effort at 
deception carried that in some cases 
milk was mixed with the beer to com- 
plete the deception many young 
printers being very moderate drinkers. 
Cold Cook (London). An under- 
taker for dead humanity being by the 
lower classes called ' dead meat', clearly 
the undertaker who looks after the 
dead is a cold cook. 

Cold -creams (Military}. Lines- 
man's name for the ' Coldstreams ', to 
designate their assumption of superior 
manners and distinction. * Look out, 
mate yere comes a cold cream.' (See 
Porridge Pots, Grinning Dears, Muck, 

Cold Day (U.S.). Bad luck good 
instance of climatic influence in pro- 
ducing phrases. 

It's a cold day when I get left any- 
where that I can't find my way back. 
Well, good-bye, old potatoes.' Newsp. 

This essentially American phrase 
(now common in England) intimates 
that he is very clever, adroit, and rarely 
bested. A cold day in America is 
indeed cold, the phrase therefore 
means only a very dreadful state of 
weather would result in his discom- 

' It's a cold day when the trotting- 
horse reporter gets left,' said the law 
reporter to the managing editor. Newsp. 

Cold Deck of Cards (Calif ornian, 
1849-80). Cards marked for the pur- 
pose of cheating. 

During the early days of California, a 
witness giving evidence in court referred 
to the operation technically known as 
< ringing in a cold deck ' at poker. For 
the information of the judge, the witness 
explained that, at the game of poker, it 
was not uncommon to introduce a pack, 
or as the American phrase goes, ' deck ' 
of cards, which was said by professional 
cardsharpers to be 'cold' when duly 
marked and arranged for the purpose of 
fraud. The judge asked if any person was 
present who could give an explanation of 
the modus operandi. To his amazement 
the audience rose like one man. Newsp. 

He denied the alleged 'cold deck' 
business in toto, and made some vigorous 
remarks about the moral weakness of a 
man who puts up all he can raise on four 
aces, with a view to scooping in the 
parties of the other part, and then turns 
round and 'squeals' when another fel- 
low takes the pot with a straight flush. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Cold Four (Public-house). One of 
the more opprobrious terms for the 
cheapest description of beer. The 
cold does not refer to the low tem- 
perature of four-ale, or four 'arf-an- 
'arf, but to its fatal want of warmthful 

Cold Meat (L. London). Dead 

The wicked Scorcher says a dead wife 
is the best bit of cold meat in the house. 

Cold Shake (of the hand) (Amer.). 
A new form of cold shoulder, or dis- 
missal. ' Leave you,' he cried ' do 
you give me the cold shake ? ' * No, 
no,' she said, ' only for a minute.' He 
watched it was her false back hair. 
She fixed it and returned radiant. 

Matsada S. Ingomar, a Japanese 
athlete, who had married a rich 
Quakeress one Miss Lodge of Philadel- 
phia for a month or so forsook the arena, 
and gave his former companions the 
' cold shake '. 

Cold Shoulder (English, coming from 
the Italian of Dante's time). To turn 
the shoulder upon an applicant. It 
is interesting, as illustrating how per- 
sonal wit will deflect a meaning, or add 
to it, that Douglas Jerrold totally 
changed the aspect of this phrase. He 
made it refer to cold shoulder of mut- 
ton, and 'cold shoulder' became 
synonymous with inhospitality, as it 
remains to this day. The climax was 
reached by the comicality (attributed 
also to Douglas Jerrold) of Paterfamilias 
(at dinner table). * For what we 
are about to receive may we be truly 
thankful cold shoulder again ! ' 

Shakespeare used the phrase as turn- 
ing the human shoulder from a sup- 

If you are too clever, people are sure 
to find you out, and call you red-hot 
treats, and will give you the shoulder of 
mutton for ever. Cutting. 

Cold Snap (Amer. -Eng. ). The first 
premonitory frost figuratively a quick, 
markedly cool reception. 


Cold Tub 


When the first 'cold snap', as the 
Americans call it, arrives, then many of 
us must wish to be hibernating animals. 
D. N., 20th November 1884. 

Young Blunt had his overcoat in pawn 
during the cold snap and wanted to get 
it out, so he called on Mr Moses to see 
about it. Newsp. Cutting. 

Cold Tub (Soc., 19 cent.}. A cold 
morning bath. Good example of 
homely metaphor. Here the water 
gets dubbed by its containant. 

The speech of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, so far from encouraging 
illusions in the mind of clever youth, was 
as bracing as cold tub. D. T., llth 
November 1899. 

Colder'n a wedge ( Western Amer. ). 
Dead colder than a wedge, the iron 
quoin used for splitting timber, and 
which in American winters is cold 
enough to take the skin off upon 

Colinderies (Soc., 1886). The 
Colonial and Indian Exhibition, South 
Kensington. The last of the droll 
names given to the series of four in- 
dustrial exhibitions at South Kensing- 
ton (1883-86). 

The Colinderies was patronized by no 
fewer than 81,516 people, making a total 
since the opening of 2,240,536. Ref., 
8th August 1886. 

Even the authorities accepted this 
droll titling, which began with 
Fisheries, followed by Healtheries, 
continued with Inventories, and ended 
with Colinderies. Even the attend- 
ants bore upon their caps the legend 
' Colindia '. 

The epilogue was called ' Colindia ', 
and was a very pleasant entertainment. 
It was a sort of ten minutes' pantomime. 
Rcf., 8th August 1886. 

At a Royal Commission of Inquiry into 
the Metropolitan Board of Works (7th 
August 1888) Mr Emil Loibl, a'witness, 
added the last invention in ' lies' . 

A song mentioned was Ten to One on 
the Lodger, and the songs were said to 
have put to the blush two Chinese 
mandarins. Witness replied: That was 
another trick of the briberies. Public 
Press, 8th August 1888. 

Collah Carriage (Street Negro Min- 
strels). A railway carriage filled with 
women Collah being Yiddish for 
young girls. 'Git into a collah car- 
riage. ' Said while waiting on a railway 
platform by one negro minstrel to 
another, both with their musical instru- 
ments of torture, their banjos, ready. 

Until stopped by the police, these 
tiresome persons found it pay to take 
shilling third-class return tickets some 
way down a line, and change their 
carriage at every station making a 
collection before every change. The 
victims fixed, and many of them 
nervous, it was a poor collection that did 
notproducethreepence. Granted twenty 
stations there and back, five shillings 
was the result a profit of three shil- 
lingswhile they had their ride to 
some fair or festive occasion and back 
for nothing. Probably derived from 
Hebrew negro minstrels in the first 
place practically all Jews singing 
from birth, while most acquire some 
aptitude on some musical instrument. 

Collar (London). In work. Said 
of a horse when he gets into swing, or 
perhaps when he begins to get wet with 
work. Applied to human beings when 
in work, and therefore making money. 

'Joe's in collar.' 

College (Poor Peoples'}. The work- 
house. Term by no means satirical, 
and used to avoid the true expression. 

' The old gent is gorne inter the col- 
lege at last.' 

' Mother ain't 'ome now she's at the 
college.' (See ' Lump', 'In there'.) 

Colleggers (Oxford ' er'). Aca- 
demical collections. 

A ceremony at which the whole host 
of Dons, sitting in solemn boredom, 
frankly say what they think of you are 
' colleggers. ' D. T., 14th August 1899. 

Collie shangles (Soc., 1884). Quar- 
rels. Brought in by Queen Victoria, 
in More Leaves (1884). 

'At five minutes to eleven rode off 
with Beatrice, good Sharp going with 
us, and having occasional collie shangles 
(a Scotch word for quarrels or rows, but 
taken from fights between dogs) with 
collies when we came near cottages.' 

Colloquials (Soc. , 1890 on). Familiar 
conversation good example of adjec- 
tive passing into abstract noun. 

Well well let us give up the higher 
culture now the teapot's here, and have 
some colloquials. 

Colour (Amer. Soc., 1860 on). Ap- 
plied to negroes in American as more 
delicate than black or even negro. 
This euphemism commenced with the 
popularity of ' Uncle Tom's Cabin '. 

Why there should be an objection to 
the word ' negro ' is strange. It defines 


Colour Sail 

Come off, To 

a person of a certain African origin and 
complexion, and it is gratifying to know 
that sensible black men are beginning to 
see it, and despise the studied over- 
politeness of some white people who talk 
and write of ' color ' without knowing 
what it really means. N. Y. Mercury. 

' Color ' at a Discount. Attorney- 
General Brewster has bounced all the 
Africans in the Department of Justice. 
He found that the ' color ' of money was 
a little too much for the ' man and 
brother.'^. Y. Mercury, 1883. 

Colour Ball (Amer.-JSng., 1880 on). 
In England a vulgar black Sal and 
Dusty Bob kick-up. In U. S. A. a negro 
or ' dignity ' dance. 

Colour the meerschaum, To. 
Drinking to the extent of reddening 
the nose. ' Aint 'e colourin' 'is meer- 
schaum ? ' The phrase arises from an 
association of ideas those in the first 
place of darkening the colour of a meer- 
schaum pipe by steady smoking, and 
in the second, intensifying the hue of 
the nose by steady drinking. The 
colour harmony between the pipe and 
the nose above it is very droll, the 
hintful phrase itself a singularly good 
example of the keenness of the com- 
mon people masking itself in a mock 
politeness which is worse than the 
plain truth. 

Coloured grave (Amer. Puritanism, 
1882). That of a negro striking 
instance of class prejudice creating 
phrases of its own. 

Presently the undertaker came up, 
and I asked him. He said he didn't 
know ; that he had told them to dig a 
coloured grave. Newsp. Gutting. 

Colt (Anglo- Amer.}. A revolver. 
Good example of the name of the 
manufacturer being given to the manu- 
facture. Colonel Colt was the in- 
ventor of the commercial as distinct 
from the historical revolver. ' I put 
down five pounds for my ' colt.' ' This 
is the colt that is bound to win.' 
Supplanted by one * Derringer', a 
small pocket revolver, sometimes called 
a ' saloon ' from its possible conveyance 
by way of the waistcoat pocket into 
polite society. 

Colt Party (Anglo- Amer.}. A soiree 
of all young people no elders. Much 
more in vogue in United States than in 

' I'll never give another all young 
party again,' said her grace 'it was 

too, too stupid.' 'Dear duchess,' re- 
plied Lord Claud, ' the colt party is 
impossible. The charm of maturity, 
to say nothing of age, dares every- 

Com (Business). A commercial 

I loved the good old ' com.' I have 
spent many a pleasant evening in com- 
mercial rooms with the shrewd men of 
the world who used to be bagmen, and 
who had strange tales of the road to tell. 
G. R. Sims,^/., 28th December 1884. 

Comb and Brush (Rhyming]. Lush. 
At one time this word signified 
' drink ', and drink only. ' Won't yer 
lush us ? ' meant Will you not pay for 
some drink for us ? Now the word 
has been extended in its meaning, 
and includes all shapes of liberality. 
' Jack lushed us all three to the Surrey 

Comb -cut (Sporting}. Trimmed, 
manipulated ; applied to a man who 
has been completely vanquished. 
From the comb of fighting cocks being 
removed to prevent the opponent 
from seizing it ; may be suggested by 
the vanquished bird having had his 
comb torn across by the victor. 

Come and have one (Peoples', 1880). 
Drink is understood. A jocular appli- 
cation of the phrase ' One of those'. 

Come and have a pickle (Soc., 
1878). An invitation to a quick un- 
ceremonious meal. 

Come and wash your neck (Navy, 
1860). Take a drink from the liquor 
flushing the throat. 

Come-day, go-day (Military). An 
extravagance, e.g. , ' It's come - day, 
go - day with him ' meaning that 
he receives on ' come '-day money or 
pay that is spent or goes the same day. 

Come-down (Common Life). Dis- 
aster, ruin, degradation, humiliation, 
e.g., 'What, no bonnet! What a 
come-down ; an' I knoo 'er mum when 
she 'ad six of everything.' 

Come down (Theat.). The act of 
moving towards the audience from up 
the stage. 

Come off, To (Amer.-Eng., 1892). 
To cease, refrain, desist, etc. Very 
graphic probably from the American 
call to fighting dogs, or men. 

' How much does yez ax for this book ? ' 
(Six dollars,' replied the smiling clerk. 


Come in, To 

Coming Bye-and-bye 

'Six dollars! Oh, come off ! ' N. Y. 
Mercury, February 1892. 

Come in, To (Society, 1880). To 
become fashionable; e.g., 'You mark 
my words, the horrid old Victorian 
furniture, especially from 1840 to 1851, 
will come in. Already spindley Chip- 
pendale is a pill.' (1883.) 

Come on (Theat.). No invitation 
to fight, but a direction to appear upon 
or ' come on ', the stage. (See ' Go off' 
and ' Go up '. ) 

Come over on a Welk (or Wilk) 
Stall (Coster satire). Kg., 'Where 
did yer dad come from ? Come over 
on a whilk-stall ? ' This may be a 
folk-satire upon * Coming over with the 
Conqueror,' or the 'whelk' may have 
that broad reference which was appli- 
cable to ' He's got 'em on ' when 
first this satirically eulogistic phrase 
came out. 

Come out, To (Soc., 19 cent.). To 
appear in society applied to young 
women in society. The crown which 
finishes the work of coming out is pre- 
sentation at Court. 

Mr Francis Knowles called, and ex- 
amined by Mr Clarke, said : I have known 
Lady Durham ever since she ' came out '. 

General Reilly, examined by Mr Clarke, 
said : I have known Lady Durham ever 
since she came out in society. Evidence 
in Lord Durham's Nullity Suit, March 

Come the old soldier over, To 
(Peoples'). Cajolery, pretended po- 
verty, specious lying statement. 
' Don't come the old soldier over me ' 
from fraudulent uniformed beggars 
after Waterloo. 

A great amount of imposture was 
practised by means of the ' old soldier ' 
dodge upon the Duke of Wellington 
during the latter part of his life. To 
' come the old soldier ' is in some quarters 
still a familiar expression signifying 
the practice of an artful trick, and the 
'old soldiers' after Waterloo were so 
numerous and so pestered the Duke of 
Wellington that he was fain to hand 
over all applications for alms to the Old 
Mendicity Society. I). N., 3rd March 

Come to grief, To (Sporting, 1880). 
A riding man's term for a smash or 
spill ; gradually accepted on all sides 
to depict failure. 

' He tried Hamlet, but to the sur- 
prise of his family, though not of his 
friends, he came to distinct grief.' 


Come to stay (Amer.-Eng.}. Come 
to remain. 

What he had to say about the origin 
and development of that remarkable 
institution, which, as the Americans 
put it, 'has come to stay', was very 
interesting. D. T., 20th May 1899. 

Come up with (Amer.-Eng.). To 
be on equality ; e.g., ' I came up with 
him instanter and he took a back 

Come up to the rack, or jump the 
fence (Amer.). To decide to do a 
thing or take departure. Rack is 
short for ' racket ', this word represent- 
ing noise. Racket gives a capital idea 
of the bustle of American life, while 
'jump the fence' is singularly sug- 
gestive of new settlements, and enclosed 

'Well, I want to bring this young 
man to time. Fact is, he's either got 
to come up to the rack or jump the 
fence.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Comfy (Soc., 1880 on). An endear- 
ing diminutive of comfortable. Pro- 
bable origin a royal nursery. 

Felice is lonely, homesick. These dear 
girls are very nice and kind ; but the 
simple tastes and simple conversation of 
the truly rural is apt to pall on your 
llase old Diogenes. She feels as if half 
only of her were here, and the sensa- 
tion is not 'comfy'. D. N., 4th July 
1895 (Craigie v. Craigie). 

Comic-song faker (Music Hall, 
1880). Music-hall way [of describing 
music-hall song- writers. 

Mr Joseph Tarbar tells me he is the 
boss author of this or any other country 
as far as comic song-faking is concerned. 

Coming bye-and-bye (Amer.-Eng., 
1876 on.) Eternity. The evangelical 
nature of the ballads, and other 
musical compositions for the voice, 
became very marked after 1870, and even 
preachers thought it elegant to refer 
to the second personage of the Trinity 
as 'our mutual friend J.C.' evidently 
without any thought of offence ; indeed 
with true sincerity. A ballad entitled 
'In the coming bye-and-bye', very 
namby-pamby, and referring of course 
to the after life brought (about 1880), 
this style of composition into sudden 
contempt more especially when Mr 
W. S. Gilbert imported it into a ballad 
for the Lady Jane (Patience), wherein, 
lamenting the lapse of her charms, she 

Commandeer, To 


fears that in the coming bye-and-bye 
meaning a few years her charms 
will be gone. 

It seems to me that there will be 
plenty of calls on that ' Actors' Bene- 
volent Fund' in the coming by-and-by. 

Commandeer, To (Transvaal War, 
1899). Required in Dutch; but in 
England held to be robbery. To com- 
mandeer was to press unwilling men 
into the Dutch army, or ' take ' what- 
erer the Dutch came across, and with 
no concurrent effort to pay for the 
property annexed. 

Some of the recruits from the inland 
districts were wild and uncouth beings, 
arrayed in rags and patches, and without 
boots or shoes. With these attractions 
were combined the external polish of 
uncombed bushy hair and beard, and 
skins rarely washed. Mausers and 
ammunition were all they possessed in 
many cases. One of them commandeered 
otherwise stole a native's horse, 
borrowing a saddle from one Britisher 
and stirrup leathers from another. 
D. T. , 24th October 1899. 

Mr Labouchere suggested that Sir 
Michael Hicks- Beach should make a 
commando among the melodramatic 
millionaires of Park Lane. D. T., 
24th October 1899. 

The 'last cry' of this term, and 
practically closing it and the war, was 
in the D. T. for 2nd March 1900 the 
day of the relief of Ladysmith. 

Scores of them had commandeered the 
contents bills of the morning and even- 
ing papers announcing the 'Relief of 
Ladysmith ', and, sticking them on their 
chests, they marched on, blowing trum- 
pets and waving flags. 

President Kruger, before leaving the 
capital, commandeered a quantity of 
gold. D. T., 7th June 1890. 

Commander of the Swiss Fleet 

(Polit., 19 cent.). An impossible title ; 
satirical attack upon titles and posi- 
tions which exist only for the money 
they produce. This is the best of 
them, Switzerland being not only in 
the centre of Europe, but generally 
two miles above the sea-level. 

It sounds quaint enough to talk of an 
Admiral ' winning his spurs ', articles not 
generally associated with seamanship, 
except in the case of the legendary 
Commander of the Swiss Fleet. D. N., 
6th July 1883. 

Commando (Transvaal War, 1899). 
A regiment. Name found by Dutch. In 
a few days it was in London differenti- 
ated from commandeering which was 
found to be sheer pressing of men, 
and annexation of property. 

I believe that the first attack will be 
made on the large Free State commando. 
D. M., 25th October 1899. 

Commercial Drama (Theat., Nov. 
1900). Drama that pays without 
relation to literature, art, wit, poetry, 
or any other comfortable quality. 
Generally depends upon surprise^scenery 
and machinery, or the reproduction of 
well-known places, or common objects 
of street life. Used satirically, but 
started quite seriously in a lecture, 
with this title ; given before the O. P. 
club, a society of patrons of the drama. 
The lecturer warmly applauded the 
commercial drama, of which he declared 
himself a successful producer (at Drury 
Lane), while he intensified his position 
by an attack upon Shakespeare, of 
whose plays he declared that some were 
so pervaded by horrors that they were 
thereby objectionable, while he main- 
tained that some half dozen could not 
be produced on the modern stage. 

' Oh, yes, quite a commercial drama 
thousands of pounds in it, and not 
one sentence worth hearing. ' 

Commercial legs (Recruiting ser- 
geants'). Bad ones unfitted to drill. 

A slender, awkward, shambling youth, 
with the ' confounded commercial legs ', 
which show that he has never taken the 
Queen's shilling, etc. Newsp. Cutting. 

Common-roomed (Varsity). Had 
up before the head of the college the 
common room being the principal's 
chamber of state. Good example of 
substitution of place for person. 

The descendants of Mr Dickenson may 
not mind a story as to how he climbed the 
college gates, and was being 'common 
roomed ', when cries were heard of 
' Dickenson for ever ! ' from the Quad, 
and it was found that he had won the 
Latin verse prize. D. N., 7th October 

Commonsensible (Soc., 1890 on). 
The condition of common sense. 

English jurisprudence has had a blunt 
and downright way of presuming a man's 
motives from the results of his conduct 
a somewhat rough and ready method no 
doubt, but still eminently ' Commonsen- 
sible '. Z. T., 21st January 1898. 


Compos, Non 

Considerable Action 

Compos, Non (19 cent.}. Abbrevia- 
tion of non compos mentis and a very 
lame one too. 

The churchwardens proved that he 
raised the disturbance before the 
collection had commenced. It was 
stated that this was not the prisoner's 
first appearance on a similar charge, 
and a doctor had certified that he was 
not altogether compos. D. T., 23rd 
February 1897. 

Comstockism (Amer.-Eng.,^ 1885 
on). Opposition to the nude in art. 
Comstock was quite a public man in 
America. He for some years had a 
formidable following in his attacks 
upon ' naked art '. 

Comstock on Nudity. He admits that 
it is not necessarily obscene the pro- 
prieties observed. Anthony Comstock 
(in heated bath-room) : ' Hello ! Hello ! 
I say, porter ! Bring me a match. I 
can't see to fix my necktie.' Servant 
(hastening to the door) : ' Did the gas go 
out, sah?' 'No; I put it out. I've 
been taking a bath ' (1889.) (See 

Con (Polit., 1883). An abbrevia- 
tion of Constitutionals, a designation 
fugitively borne by the Conservatives 
in this year. This rather contemptuous 
word was bestowed by the Radicals in 
return for the discovery of Rad (q.v.). 

Mr Wilson Croker in The Quarterly 
Review more than forty years ago re- 
commended the Tory party to abandon 
that designation and call themselves 
instead the Conservative party. The 
Quarterly Review of the present day 
seems disposed to think that the title 
of Conservative should be quietly 
dropped, and that of ' Constitutional ' 
adopted instead.!). N.. 20th October 

Con (Thieves'}. Simply disguised 

Concertize (Musical}. From 
America to assist musically in con- 

M. Ovide Musin, the great Belgian 
violinist, has returned to this city to 
concertize under Mr L. M. Eubens' 
management. Neivsp. Cutting. Novem- 
ber 1885. 

Concrete Impression (Art., 1890 
on) Conviction. One of the most 
absurd of the art critical 'finds' of 
the '90's. 

Thus, Mr Peppercorn's 'Bosham, Early 
Morning', is all breeze and grey light, 
but not much else; the study is not 
distinctive enough to call up a definite 

and concrete impression. D. T., 4th 
January 1896. 

Condemned; Condemnation 

(Sporting, 1870). Damned ; a damn. 
A sort of jocular avoidance of even 
mild swearing. 

David out-gagged even himself, and 
caused great laughter. Nobody else was 
worth a condemnation. Ref., llth 
December 1884. 

' Ducks ! ' I says ; ' you condemned 
lunatic, them ain't ducks ; them's mud 
hens ! ' Cutting. 

Confidence - queen (Ang. - Amer. , 
1883). A female detective outcome 
of American state of society. 

The confidence queen of Miss Caroline 
Hill revealed that lady's stage qualities 
to great advantage, especially in the 
scene of the third act. N. Y. Mercury, 
June 1884. 

Confidence man (Thieves'}. He is 
a specious gentleman who asks his way 
of one who appears to be a promising 
victim, and whom he never meets, 
but overtakes, after allowing him to 
pass, and so take stock of him. He 
then enters into conversation, asks 
the victim to have a drink as they 
approach the tavern where the con- 
federate awaits results. If the victim 
accepts, the confederate, who appears 
to be a stranger, begins showing what 
appears to be gold, and making 
foolishly weak bets. The confidence 
man then whispers confidentially to 
victim that they may as well have 
the fool's money as another. If the 
victim is as much rogue as fool, he 
consents, and by some one of twenty 
dodges (see 365 Straightforward Ways 
of Cheating), he is robbed. If he is 
honest, however, his honesty saves his 

Congo patois (Amer., 1884). 
Slang. Term heard at Liverpool. 

The professor bad, probably, been 
reading those shockingly poor books, the 
Grandissimes, Dr Sevier and the Creoles, 
in which Congo patois, as it is called, is 
ascribed to educated white people. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Considerable amount of united 
action (Parliamentary, 1888). Con- 
spiracy. Early in this year Mr 
Herbert Gladstone charged the Conser- 
vative opposition with ' malicious con- 
spiracy' to oppose the government. 
Called to account, he modified the 
statement into this phrase, which 

Conspiracy of Silence 


henceforth remained a satirical 
euphemism amongst the younger Con- 
servatives for ' conspiracy ' in general. 

Mr Herbert Gladstone, however, is 
mildly of opinion that his words were 
' stronger than the occasion justified ', 
and that he would more accurately have 
expressed whatever amount of meaning 
was present in his mind by substituting 
for ' malicious conspiracy ' the phrase ' a 
considerable amount of united action '. 
Globe, 16th March 1883. 

Conspiracy of silence (Soc., 1885). 
Evasion of comment. Created by the 
silence of general press in relation to 
certain terrible articles in The Pall 
Mall Gazette. (1885.) 

Some of the clergy and some of the 
judges have at last been aroused to the 
danger of the situation, and many 
journals are now breaking through the 
' conspiracy of silence ', and boldly 
denouncing the shameless creatures, etc. 
Me/., 31st August 1885. 

Constant - screamer (Peoples', 1860 
on). Concertina A satirical ono- 
matope of the musical instrument in 
question which is a machine played 
by an upward pull, and a downward 
pressure of the construction, which has 
much the appearance of a tubular 
Japanese lantern. 

Tommy of the Artillery and Army 
Service is brimful of music hall talent, 
and nightly upon the foredeck to the 
melody of a ' Constant- Scream er ' he 
warbles, solo or chorus, 'Off to Ashantee'. 
I). T., 20th December 1895. 

Constructive Assault (Sporting, 
1880). Attendance at a prize-fight. 

Some time ago the whole of the 
common law Judges met to decide the 
question, what is an assault? The point 
arose out of a decision of a Chairman at 
Quarter Sessions, who had ruled that any 
one ' assisting ' at a prize-fight was guilty 
of a 'constructive assault'. The Lord 
Chief Justice of England agreed with 
the Chairman, and carried a majority 
of the Court with him. D. N., 14th 
October 1884. 

Consume salt (Theat.). English 
equivalent of cum grano salis. 

A recent Modjeska poisoning item in 
the country papers suggests that some 
stars must consume a great deal of salt 
if they read about their reported doings. 

Contango (Stock Exchange). Practi- 
cally, suspense or renewal of a transac- 
tion. (See Bull, Bear, and especially 

Backwardation.) These entries read 
and furthermore understood contango 
may possibly be comprehended. No 
gain being made on a transaction, and 
the backwardation being paid, the 
contract is renewed, in the same terms, 
upon the price at the commencement 
of the transaction, and without refer- 
ence to the price of the day when the 
contango is arranged. This process is 
more generally indulged in when there 
has been no, or very little, variation in 
the price of a given security between 
purchase-day and settling-day. 

Context, To (Printers' and Type- 
writers'}. To try to ascertain, or to 
discover a badly written word in 
' copy ', by its context, by studying 
the words on both sides of it; e.g., 
* Oh, context it, and do the best you 

Continent (Artier., 1880). The 
latest shape of oath in the States; e.g., 
' What the continent do you mean by 
it ? ' It refers of course to the conti- 
nent of America. Origin obscure. 
Not in any way the transmutation of 
a word like it. 

Not one of them even looked up. Not 
one of them seemed to care a continental 
whether his old ore assayed 15 or 95 per 
cent. They had all ' been there '. Wall 
Street News (1883). 

Conversation, A little. Violent 

Coo-ey (1860 on). Shout of good- 
fellowship. This cry, with a long 
accent on the ' ey ' is an imitation of 
the Australian aborigines' friendly 
call to another from long distances in 
the bush. It is therefore naturally a 
friendly call here in the home coimtry, 
and is never used in an inimical spirit. 
It is generally used to find a friend 
lost in a crowd, or far ahead by night 
in the street. Probably introduced by 
sailors, the starters of so much hearty, 
vigorous, popular passing English 
probably miners who have tried their 
luck at the gold fields, and found it 
only trying. The gold diggers were 
the first to adopt the ' coo-ey ' which, 
properly pitched, appears to travel with 
exceptional vigour. The e-e-e-y is 
always half a tone below the ' coo ', 
which is generally pitched as high as 
the individual voice will allow. The 
Australian starts upon the C' in alt, 
or that ut de poitrine which is the 
ambition of every operatic tenor in 
the world. 


Cooking Day 


Cooking Day (Navy). Twenty- 
four hours devoted to Bacchus. 

Cool (Sack - phrase). Means look, 
' c' being used in place of* k', probably 
because being a true word it is more 

Cool her on Sunday in a black velvet 
costoom, with boots, gloves, and gamp 
to match. Cutting. 

Cooper (Nautical). One who sells 
liquors on the sly ; also one who buys 
illicit spirits. Applied (1884) to the 
vessels, generally Dutch, which follow 
English fishing smacks into the North 
Sea. Also applied to the cooper's 

Another matter in which he took deep 
interest was the suppression of those 
floating grog-shops in the North Sea 
which have done so much injury, and 
no inconsiderable step was taken in that 
direction when he made arrangements 
by which duty-free tobacco is now 
supplied from the mission smacks in the 
North Sea to the fishermen, who have 
not now the inducement to board the 
'Coopers' which before existed. Prince 
of Wales, Birkbeck Testimonial Fish- 
mongers' Hall, 31st October 1885. 

There is a queer craft always hanging 
about. She is called a ' cooper ', and no 
man cares whence she comes. She flies 
sometimes an English, sometimes a 
foreign flag, and is in fact denned by the 
Duke of Edinburgh as a floating grog- 
shop of the worst kind. D. N., 20th 
June 1883. 

Cooper (Peoples'). The name of a 
beer-mixture of common beer (3d. per 
quart) and stout (6d. to 8d. per quart). 
Named from the coopers who invented 
the mixture. 

Cooper up, To (Boer War, 1899- 
1900). To surround, fix, render im- 
movablefrom the fixing of the staves 
of a tub by its hoops. 

The pursuit of De Wet failed, and the 
swoop in a semi-circle from Pretoria to 
Pinnaar's Poort, miscarried in so far as 
' coopering up ' De la Key, Theron, or 
any of the lesser Boer leaders and raiders 
was concerned. D. T., 20th October 

Cop (Thieves'). Complex rhyming. 
Taken, seized, thrashed, struck, caiight 
by disease, well-scolded, discovered in 
cheating a universal verb suggesting 
defeat or damage of some kind. There 
has been more discussion over this 
widely applied word than any other 
in the kingdom of phrase. It is a very 

obscure, complicated, abbreviated, 
back - phrasing example. It is to 
' pocket ' (in the shape of receiving) 
the tek being elided when poc being 
spelt backwards ' cop ' appears. When 
the police cop a man he is practically 
'pocketed'. So with all the many 
applications of this word with a little 
indulgence its vigour will be seen. 
Its common use is ' cop the yenneps ', 
penny backworded, with an ' e ' added 
for the sake of euphony, the plural 
being made in the ordinary way. 
' I've copped the yenneps, and I'm 
off to the carse and the burick' that 
is, home and wife. Cop has another 
meaning to take too much to drink. 
In universal use. 

Cop a mouse (Artisans'). Get a 
black eye. Cop in this sense is to 
catch or suffer, while the colour of the 
obligation at its worst suggests the 
colour aad size of the innocent animal 

Cop on the cross, To (Thieves'). 
To discover guilt, by cunning. 

A good way of copping her on the 
cross is to pretend to go off into the 
country for a day or two, and come 
down on her in the middle of the night. 

Cop the brewery, To (L. Class, 
19 cent.). To get drunk. 

Cop the curtain (Music Hall, pass- 
ing into the theatres, 1880). To gain 
so much applause that the curtain is 
raised for the performer to appear and 
bow. * The Basher copped the curtain 
twice, and was a great go.' 

Copper (Street, 1868 on). A police- 
man. The term superseded Peeler, 
Robert, Bob, Bobby. From the com- 
mon street verb ' cop '. ' There's a 
copper round the corner will (1884) 
scurry a covey of toddlers wrangling 
in the gutter more rapidly than a 
four-horse waggon.' Copper is perhaps 
the first word the infantile street arab 
thoroughly comprehends. 

This word is also used as an ex- 
clamation amongst work-people when 
any one of their number is blustering. 
It means giving himself the airs of 
police authority. 

' Copper ! copper ! we shall soon be a 
sergeant ! ' 

The incident of the trial which will 
probably pass on and become history 
when the rest is forgotten was the en- 


Copper Captain 


quiry of Mr Justice Hawkins as to the 
meaning of the word ' copper '. The 
witness kindly explained to the innocent 
judge that a copper is a policeman one 
who 'cops'. Re/., 15th August 1888. 

' A Lady' writes to a fashionable rag 
that the low-necked dress is an abomina- 
tion, ' into which it is the duty of the 
press to look.' Look ! No, old gal. If 
any of 'em come near me I shall cry 
' copper ! ' 

' I cry copper ' was the refrain of a 
popular song (1882) in which the police- 
men ' got it '. 

Copper Captain (Queen's Bench 
Prison, South wark). A captain found 
in neither Army nor Navy List. An 
officer of self- promotion. 

' The Affable Hawks and other varieties 
of copper captains have taken flight from 
the Borough Road. Flash songs are no 
longer heard behind the high walls, 
on the inner side of which the racquet 
courts are still marked out, and a ghastly 
stillness has fallen upon the once thickly 
peopled spot.' Article upon Queen's 
Bench Prison (1881), then about to be 
pulled down. 'But the modern practi- 
tioner has shown a notable advance in 
method from the copper captains, table 
knights, and Dandos of yore.' I). If., 
February 1882. 

'The company contains many copper 
captains, brazen adventurers, and women 
whose character is advertised in their 
countenances.' D. N. t 26th August 1883. 

Copper-clawing (Street.) A fight 
between women. Probably a corrup- 
tion of ' cap-a-clawing ' a pulling of 
caps a phrase which ceased to be 
applicable when lower - class women 
ceased to wear caps. (1820.) 

Copper-rattle (Navy) . Irish, gener- 
ally Irish, or other stew from the 
hubble-bubble of this boiling delicacy 
called in London city restaurants, 
* French Pie '. 

Copper's Nark ( Thieves'). A police- 
man's civilian spy. 

Upon this the prisoner, who was stand- 
ing by, accused witness of being a 
'copper's nark' (i.e., a police spy), and 
dealt him several severe blows. I). T., 
18th October 1897. 

Copper's Shanty ( C. L. ). A police 
station. Shanty is from the back- 
woods of America a small, cosy 

' Do you think I've arrived at my time 
of life 'without seeing the inside of a 
copper's shanty ? ' Cutting. 

Copper -slosher. An individual 
with the mania of ' going for ' police- 

Miss Selina Gripp, the well-known 
copper-slosher, returned to the buzzim of 
her family on Tuesday from Tothill, where 
she had been staying for some months. 
Mock Fashionable Intelligence, 1882. 

Copy (Printers'). The matter to be 
set up in type, and which must be one 
of two kinds, the ever legitimate MS. 
or manuscript, and the frequently 
stolen reprint. 

The copy's bad, as though with skewer 
the author wrote, and watery ink. 
' What word is this ? ' quoth one. ' Ele- 
phant, elegant, or telephone?' 'Oh, I 
don't know, at this time of night ; put it 
what you like, and let the reader find it 
out. ' Cutting. 

Coqcigrues (European). Utopias, 
impossibilities. The word evidently 
refers to something that will never 
happen. It is on all fours with the 
French folksaying : ' That will happen 
in the week of the four Thursdays.' 
May it be Coqs aux Grues cock fowls 
that are half storks or cranes more 
especially referring to the differences 
between the gallinaceous claw and the 
long leg and web-foot of the stork. 
The anticipation of arrival is also con- 
sistent with the migratory habits of 
storks, and also of the coqs de Bray ere. 
' Coqcigrues ' may have originally been 
booth clowns professional jesters ; 
applied afterwards generally to foolish 
people. They were dressed as cocks, 
with feathers and cocks' heads, and 
danced upon stilts, hence the reference 
to storks ' grues ' ; or cocks on storks' 

If reform can only come from within, 
the teaching of history warns us that we 
cannot expect reform till the coming of 
the Coqcigrues. D. N., June 1885. 

The king sent John de Shoreditch to 
ask the Dean and Chapter for a loan of 
the hundred marks left by Bishop Wil- 
liam de Marcia, and kept at Wells usque 
ad generate passagium ad Terrain Sanctum 
' till the general passage to the Holy 
Land ; ' that is to say, till the coming 
of the Coqcigrues, or usque ad adventum 
Coqcigruorum. Newsp. Cutting. 

Corfee-'ouse cut (Cheesemongers'). 
The back of bacon, without bones, and 
exceptionally used by coffee- house 

Cork (Workshop). The cork (pro- 
bably from the American caucas) is the 




complainant who brings a charge before 
the shop-constable and the garret. 
He may bring a complaint against a 
fellow-workman of a technical char- 
acter, or of some social nature or even 
crime. The restraint upon the cork 
takes the shape of the rule which com- 
pels him to pay five shillings if he lose 
the case, while the defendant, when los- 
ing, is mulcted in but half-a-crown. Of 
these tines half is generally spent in 
drink in the shop, the other forwarded 
to the secretary of the Union, who 
applies it to the General Purposes 

Corkscrew (L. Lond.). An evasive 
pronunciation of God's Truth used 
satirically. (See Cheese and Crust.) 

Corn-crackers (Amer. ). The people 
of Kentucky ; probably from the im- 
mensities of corn grown there. 

Corner Boys (Ihiblin). Loafers, 
who generally affect street corners, as 
presenting more scope (1) for seeing, 
and (2) for bolting. 

Kilmainham was reached a few min- 
utes before five o'clock. There were 
only a few corner boys present in the 
neighbourhood of the prison, and there 
was no demonstration of any kind. 
Report of Arrest of Mr Dillon, M.P., 

The term comes from America. 

Cornichon (Soc., 1880). A muff. 
Direct from French gherkin. 

Yet are not all French sportsmen good 
shots ; indeed, for every decent gun you 
must reckon twenty highly developed 
cornichons French for muffs. Newsp. 

Cornstalks (A ustral.). The people 
of New South Wales ; from this pro- 
vince growing quantities of corn. 
Given by the people of Victoria. 

Being usually of good height, but 
wanting in depth and breadth, they have 
gained for themselves the epithet of corn- 
stalks, which is saying a great deal for 
the value of their heads. Baden Powell, 
New Homes for the Old Country. (See 
Gum-suckers. ) 

Cornucopia (Amer.). A rich in- 

We who dine at noon, live in one- 
story cottages with mortgages on them, 
and have wet blankets thrown over us as 
we slowly elbow our way through life, 
sometimes envy the old cornucopias as 
we see them go down to the bank to 
draw their dividends. Cutting. 

Correctitude (Soc., 1900). Correct- 
ness. Latinised word first seen and 
heard in England in 1900. Probably 
from U.S.A. 

M. Delcasse, it is true, has all along 
been a pattern of ' correctitude ' ; but 
the Waldeck - Rousseau Cabinet had a 
difficult people to deal with. D. T., 
29th December 1900. 

Corroboree (Nautical). A drunken 
spree, in which there is much yelling. 
Supposed to be derived from a term 
used by some unknown South Sea 
Islanders to describe a wordy and 
excited interview. Every sailor knows 
the word, sometimes used disparag- 
ingly as * It just was a corroboree.' 

Gould (Handbook of the Birds of 
Australia} says it is the Australian 
native word for a discussion, or pow- 
wow. ' The males ' (of an Australian 
bird) ' congregate and form corroboree 

Corpse (Theat.). To balk a fellow- 
actor on the stage while he is acting, 
by some by-play or facial action which 
attracts attention. Very emphatic. 
' Look here, Joe, if you corpse me 
again to-night in the second act, while 
you are up, I'll pull your long nose ! ' 

Corpse-worship (Club, 1880 on). 
The extreme use of flowers at funerals. 
This custom, set by the Queen at the 
mausoleum (Frogmore) immediately 
after the death of the Prince Consort, 
grew rapidly, until the custom had 
extended to quite the lower classes, 
amongst whom neighbours vied in for- 
warding expensive floral tributes. 
Finally, in the '90's, many death 
notices in the press were followed by 
the legend, ' No flowers '. 

Corsey (Sporting). Stiff betting 
or play not from race-course, as it 
might well be supposed, but from 
French corse. 

Baccarat may be played for any sums, 
from the petit baccarat desante, the family 
baccarat, up to the sport which is usually 
described as corse, or in stronger lan- 
guage reckless. D. N., 18th January 

Cosey (Slums). A small, hilarious 
public-house, where singing, dancing, 
drinking, etc. , goes on at all hours. 

Cosh (Amer.). One of the veiled 
ways of naming the Deity. 

The word ' Oshkosh ' is the name of a 
town, and not a form of profanity in use 
by the Scandinavians, from whom the 




Americans have obtained it in the modi- 
fied form of ' Cosh ! Good-morning ' 
said satirically, of course, as to Scandi- 

Coss (Natters'). A blow. Origin 
obscure probably the name of a 

Coster (Low Life). Short for coster- 
monger, a great being in low life, 
generally a sort of prince, and often a 
king o' the costers. To be really royal 
he must make money, but save nothing, 
dress beautifully (see Pearlies), be hand- 
some in a rough way, be always flush 
of cash and liberal with it, possess a 
handsome girl or wife (generally the 
latter), and above all, fight well, and 
always be ready to fight. Reign gener- 
ally extends to five years (nineteen to 
twenty-four), when he either takes a 
shop and does well, takes to drink and 
does worse, or growing ancient, grizzly, 
or broken with disease, loses a fight, 
abdicates, and sinks into the ranks. 
Said to be derived from ' Quatre 
saisons' the 'Marchand des quatre 
saisons ' that is fruit and vegetables 
of spring, summer, autumn, and 

Costermonger Joe (Com. London). 
Common title for a favourite coster. 

Costermongering (Musical, 1850). 
Altering orchestral or choral music, 
especially that of great composers. 
From the habit Sir Michael Costa 
sometimes showed of modifying the 
score of Handel. Happy hit, as con- 
trasting the guerilla business of the 
coster with the proper professional and 
established tradesman. 

But the costermongering was worse 
than ever this time, and, in mingled 
sorrow and anger, amateurs cried, 'Et 
tu, Brute ! ' Better things were expected 
of Mr Manns, but it was found that 
Caesar and Pompey are very much alike 
specially Pompey. Ref. y 28th June 

Costume Play (Theat.). A drama 
in which the dresses are any before 
those of the 19th century, but not 
before say the tenth; e.g., 'Thank 
God,' she observed, ' I've got a cos- 
tume play at last. I shall klobber in 
crimson and gold for the first act, blue 
and amber for the second, and pure 
white and silver for my death in the 
third. I shall make a great success. 
Redfern will make.' 

A new play by Eobert Buchanan is, 
however, being rehearsed at the Vaude- 
ville. Like Sophia, it is a ' costume ' 
piece. Re/., 5th February 1888. 

Costume plays are, to the thinking of 
some folk, handicapped because they are 
costume plays. It is sneeringly said 
that the modern young actor cannot be 
at ease unless he can dive his hands into 
his pockets. D. T., 18th July 1899. 

Cot so (18 cent.}. An evasion of 
God's oath the Redemption. Com- 
mon in Richardson. 

Cottages (Fast youtJis'). Ves- 
pasians ; retiring points for half a 
minute. Said to be derived from the 
published particulars of an eccentri- 
cally worded will in which the testator 
left a large fortune to be laid out in 
building ' cottages of convenience '. 
Passing away in favour of the under- 
ground palaces dedicated to Cloacina 
palaces generally termed 'Fountain 
Temples ' or ' Palaces '. 

Cough Drop (Peoples', 1860 on). 
Poison, or even anything disagreeable. 
' Lor', what a cough drop she are ! ' 
From the ominous motto used many 
years since with a cough lozenge 
' Cough no more '. The gruesome 
double entendre here was first seen 
by W. Brough, who incorporated it 
in a burlesque for when you are dead 
you cough no more ! 

' Honest John Burns, ' who has been 
returned for Battersea by the skin of his 
teeth, and who would have benefited 
considerably had his constituents given 
him a holiday, objects to being called ' a 
cough drop \-Ref., 27th July 1895. 

'Oh, he's awful leary a very cough 
drop a genuine red hot treat, make no 
blooming error.' 'Oh, she's a cough 
drop, a red hot treat, and no mistake. ' 

Couldn't speak a threepenny bit 
(Street, 1890 on). Utter temporary 
incapacity for speech. ' I couldn't 
speak a threepenny bit, but I made 
myself a luvverley cup o' tea, an' I 
were soon better.' The lady had pro- 
bably been drinking indeed the phrase 
may be an elegant evasion of the ad- 
mission of, at least, partial intoxica- 

Counting-house (Street, 1870). A 
stupid perversion of countenance 
supposed to be comic. ' Just take a 
squint at his counting-house.' 

We get into the shop and see a really 
fine-looking dona smiling all over her 
counting-house. Gutting. 

Country Cousin 


Country Cousin (Rhyming). A 
dozen, e.g., '' They put away about 
three country cousins o' Bass.' 

County-crop (1856). A closely- 
cropped head of hair, such as is im- 
posed upon prisoners sent to the county 
jails. In 1856 when the Crimean 
soldiers returned with long heavy 
beards, which for many years remained 
a national fashion, it was found that 
longish hair, such as had been worn 
all the century, gave with the heavy 
beard too top-heavy an appearance. 
The hair was therefore cut down, and 
the result was dubbed a county crop, 
while the beard was called a door- 
mat, shortened to mat. ' He's got a 
crop and mat ' quite described the 
swell of 1856-1857. The door -mat 
has vanished the 'crop' (1897) re- 

Couple of Flats (Theat.). Double 
meaning. In the old time, before the 
advent of elaborate set scenery, two 
scene screens run on from opposite 
sides and joining in the centre were 
called a 'couple of flats'. Applied 
to two bad actors. (See ' Camp at 
Olympia ', by Planche.) 

Course-keeper ( Winchester School}. 
A bully's bully. The Wykehamist 
strong enough to compel fagging 
officeredthe 'course-keeper' a medium 
between the oldest and youngest of the 
scholars. He deputed his work to one 
of the smallest boys. 

The ' offices which the Eton fag per- 
forms are amongst the lightest of the 
duties of the Winchester fag. Besides 
these he had to clean dirty boots, clean 
frying-pans, cook breakfasts, and fetch 
water. The infliction of some of the 
most offensive of these duties, as e.g., 
cleaning frying-pans, was often deputed 
to a middle boy, or ' course-keeper ' as 
he was called, who gratified any personal 
grudge he might have against any parti- 
cular small boy by selecting him for the 
odious task. Letter to Daily News. 

The term remains, but fagging at 
Winchester is a thing of the wretched 

Couscousou (A Igerian French, 1 840). 
The native rendering of qu'est-ce que 
c'est, the enquiry a French soldier 
always puts upon every possible 
occasion, and which the Algerian has 
supposed to be the name of a stew. 
Hence in imitating this dish they 
apply the enquiry it would elicit 

from a French onlooker equivalent to 
our * kickshaw '. Used to be used in 
London eating-houses derived un- 
doubtedly from the same French origin. 

Cover to Cover, From (Soc. t 
18 eent. on). Through and through. 
Good example of the spread of educa- 
tion and reading yielding new phrases, 
for of course this figure of speech is 
obtained from reading a book from 
first page to last. 

I can vouch that Sir William White, 
who knew him 'from cover to cover', 
never entertained this view of his 
character. Z>. T., 12th June 1897. 

Covered Br ougham (Peoples' , 1870). 
A waggon with tarpaulin over the top. 
Given to the vehicles which once plied 
from the Bank to the East of London, 
taking up customers too late for even 
the last 'bus. They were in especial 
force on Saturday night, and were 
generally very convivial. The increase 
in the number of 'buses swept away 
the covered brougham. (See Virgins' 

Cow-boy (Local Amer.). A Texas 
fanner, from his cattle-raising boy 
being a common term for men of all 
ages. 'The graziers of Colorado have 
come to the title of ' cow-boys '. 

Cow with the iron tail (Peoples'). 
Pump. A way of attacking milkmen 
who until about 1865 sold extensively 
watered milk. This phrase was very 
familiar until certain municipal acts 
were passed which by penalties put 
down the watering of milk. (See 

* Simpson', 'Hard Simpson', ' Liquor', 

Cow-juice (Amer.). Milk used 
by Buckstone, the actor, in Our Ameri- 
can Cousin. 

Cowlick (Peoples'). A wisp of 
growing hair, of different colour from 
the general tone. ' Lick ' is evidently 
a corruption of * lock ', and cow has 
nothing whatever to do with kine. 
Good example how the Anglicizing of 
one word modifies another in associa- 
tion with it. The first word having 
been turned into ' cow ', and lock 
having no meaning in connection with 

* cow ', it became lick, and the double 
error suggested a cow-lick which had 
turned the colour of the wisp of hair. 
Probably in the first place from a lock 
common to the head of a clan, the 




Gow or Gough, Irish or Scotch. This 
wisp of hair in all probability fre- 
quently became a birth-mark, and was 
probably often imitated by art when 
nature arrested the inheritance. ^ A 
very powerful French drama, in which 
Fechter was famous in Paris was built 
up on a cow-lick (Les Fils de la Nuit). 
A superstition of luck or ill-luck 
attaches to the cow -lick. ' Ha ! he 
always had a lucky cow-lick.' The 
' widow's lick ' or ' lock ' is a tuft of 
unmanageable hair which grows lower 
than the rest of the forehead hair, and 
is always at or near the centre of the 
top of the forehead. The belief that a 
woman possessed of this lock, generally 
of a greyish tone, must lose her hus- 
band has, in past generations, pre- 
vented many a good woman from 
getting even a worse husband. John- 
son has nothing to say to this word. 

Coxey (Aug. -Amer. , 1894). A wild 
political leader. From an American 
politician of this name who pioneered 
a number of out-of-work mechanics, 
who seized trains and invaded Wash- 

The march of the ' tramps ' in America 
is a very live thing. The 'Coxeyites' 
are having a tremendous amount of fun, 
and the eyes of the world are upon them. 
Ref., 29th April 1894. 

Coxies (Low Glass). Corruption of 
cock's eyes. A term at dominoes for 
double I. A good example of rebus 
phrasing. Probably a translation from 
the French ceil de cog especially as a 
single one is called 'udder cock' ceil 
de coq, although rarely, ' Cock's eye ' is 
the general term. The other names for 
dominoes are evidently French 2, 
tray ; 3, duce ; 4, quarters ; 5, sinks. 
The whites are called ' blanks ', while 
the sixes have become quite English. 
Interesting to mark that ' tray ' and 
' duce ' are used still by old-fashioned 
people for 2 and 3 at cards, while even 
the French * valet ' is still ' varlet '. 

Coy-gutted (Devonshire). Difficult 
in the matter of eating. Generally 
used with an addition more emphatic 
than elegant. 

Crabby (W. Eng.). A carpenter- 
said despitefully. Origin vague. 

Crack (Jovial, 18 cent.}. A royster-^ 
ing meeting, derived from ' cracking ' 
and finishing a bottle of wine. 

'My poor old mother', he wrote, 
1 comes in with her sincere, anxious old 

face. "Send my love to Jane, and tell 
her" (this with a woeish face) "I would 
like right weel to have a crack " (conver- 
sation) " wi' her once more." ' FKOUDE, 
Carlyle's Life in London, vol. ii., p. 96. 

Crack (London). A narrow passage 
of houses ; e.g., ' 'Ave yer seen the 
grand duchess of our crack this blessed 
mornin' gorne to the Cristial Pallis 
in 'lectric blue she 'av.' 

Crack a case (Thieves'). To break 
into a house. ' Case ' from casa 
(Italian) anglicized. 

Crack a wheeze (Theatrical). To 
utter the last thing out ' wheeze ' 
probably from the alcholic guffaw 
which follows the tale, especially if it 
is erotic. 

* Cracking a wheeze ' is a phrase which 
has always struck us as extraordinary, 
especially as it has not the recommenda- 
tion of brevity. It is synonymous with 
the sailor - slang phrase, ' spinning a 
yarn '. 

Crack the bell (Peoples'). To pro- 
duce failure by speech ; or even act, to 
reveal a secret unintentionally ; to 
muddle the phrase in fact has many 
meanings. Derived from the necessity 
of being silent while casting a bell, the 
belief, coming down from monastic 
times, that a mere word spoken during 
casting may produce a flaw in the bell ; 
e.g., 'What? told Tom Jack's going 
to marry Jill ? Then you have cracked 
the bell.' 'She dropped in the mud 
with all her new togs on, and cracked 
the bell in a jiffy.' (See Let the Cat 
out of the Bag. ) 

Crack the monica (Music-halls). 
The chairman, who once ruled in these 
places he vanished in the '80's had 
before him a table - bell, which he 
sounded after certain ways, one of 
which informed the audience applaud- 
ing a singer who had retired that he 
or she would appear again. ' He 
cracked the monica, an' on she came 
smilin' like "jam"' the monica is 
the bell. 

Cracker (American). A biscuit. 
The English word, evidently meaning 
' twice cooked ', or baked, is a mis- 
nomer, while the States'-wide synonym 
is at least a good specimen of orioma- 

I, a lone bachelor, a lone fisherman, 
with infinite pains and great pleasure, 
first dipped these ink-pots in the freshest 



Credit Draper 

of eggs beaten up ; after that into the 
finest and crisped cracker dust. Newsp. 

This ink-pot is cuttle-fish, named 
after a protective secretion it throws 
out when pursued. Its more fish- 
mongerly title is squid. It abounds in 
New York waters. They are capital 
eating when ' dusted ' and fried. 

Cracker (S. Carolina). Native 
origin unknown. 

Imagine a tall, gaunt, loose-jointed 
man, with long grizzled hair, deep-set 
eyes that glow like coals of living fire, 
high, square shoulders, a stooping, 
slouching gait ; skin wrinkled and dirty 
beyond pen description ; hands and feet 
immense, the former grimy and with 
protruding knuckles, the latter incased 
in cowhide boots with soles an inch thick 
and of astonishing width ; clothes beside 
which Joseph's coat would sink into insig- 
nificance, so covered are they with patches 
of divers colours this is a South Caro- 
lina 'cracker'. Newsp. Cutting, 1883. 

Crackpot (Stock Exchange, 1880). 
A doubtful company promoter, a man 
who has the appearance of prosperity 
and who is but an impostor. This 
word may come from New York. ' A 
crackpot in the city' is a term so 
familiar that it was taken for the 
chorus in a comic song. It appears 
even in France where a commercial 
crash of a swindling nature or a politi- 
cal breakdown is called a ' krach ' 
(pronounced crack;, which may repre- 
sent either crack or ' crash ' more 
probably the latter bearing in mind 
French spelling of most English words. 
' Crackpot ' replaced the phrase ' Lame 
Duck '. 

They take the honours, and they should 
do some of the work. Besides, they 
might improve their minds by listening 
occasionally to 'The Crackpot in the 
City' and ' Tiddy-fol-lol'. Ref., 28th 
January 1883. 

1 We do a tremendous business in our 
bank,' said one crackpot to another. 
' Why, through buying ink at a new 
place we save 200 a year. Fancy the 
amount of writing we do.' Cutting. 

Cracksman (Thieves', 18 cent.). A 
man who cracks buildings a burglar, 
as distinct from a high toby man or a 
low toby fellow. (See High Toby.) 

Craft (Youths', 1870). A bicycle, 
from liking the machine to a ship. 
(See Beast, Bone-Shaker, Craft, Crock.) 

Crambo Song (Peoples'). Still 
heard in the remoter parts of England. 

Roystering ballad, of a cavalier, wine, 
and women swing. From the eternal 
Spanish carambo orcaramba, shortened 
by the omission of the first vowel. 
Probably brought over by Philip of 
Spain ; or a countess in the suite of 
Catherine of Braganza, or Charles II. 
may be answerable. This cry would 
be a beloved one in the mouth of a man 
who did not object to be called ' Old 
Rowley ' Charles II. indeed was rather 
proud of the distinction. Rowley him- 
self was an etalon in the royal stables. 

' The secret flew out of the right pocket of 
his coat in a whole swarm of your carambo 
songs, short-footed odes, and long-legged 
pindarics.' Farquhar, The Inconstant. 

Cranky gawk (Chicago). Equal to 
Scotch ' dazed gowk ' said of a stupid, 
awkward lad. 

Crazy quilt (Awier. Mid. CL). A 
quilt of patchwork, made at random. 

The old woman's dress looked like a 
crazy quilt, and two of the boys had only 
one trousers-leg apiece. Texas Si/tings, 

Craythur, Craytur, or Craychur 
(Irish). Whiskey; e.g., 'Oh, for the 
love o' God giv me now a taste o' the 
craythur.' The origin of the word may 
be of singular significance in consider- 
ing the history of Ireland and the 
Irish if it is really ' creator ' and not 
* creature ', as it is generally supposed. 
In the latter case 'creature' means 
Satan. This is certain, that for years 
after the middle of the 18th century 
whiskey was not known in Ireland, 
while during the period of Home Rule 
(1782-1800) Grattan himself in the 
Dublin House of Commons declared 
every seventh house in Ireland was a 
whiskey shop. 

Cream Ice Jacks (London Streets). 
Street - sellers of d. ices. Jacks 
probably from Giacomo and Giacopo. 
'They've a bad time of it, 'ave the 
cream ice Jacks, for whenever a kid 
gits ill the mother goes for the jack an' 
'as it out with 'im.' 

Creams (London Street). Abbre- 
viation of cold-creams, in its turn a 
droll mode of describing the Coldstream 
Guards. Intimates that they are 
dandies, and know how to get them- 
selves up. ' Now then, my creams- 
gods of the essences,' he observed. 
' Then there was a shindy ! ' 

Credit Draper (Peoples'). A smooth- 
spoken seeming cheat from the tally- 
man system, whose practitioners have 
97 G 



bestowed upon themselves this evasive 
and hypocritically benignant name. 
' Don't believe a word 'e 'ave to say 
Vs on'y a credit draper.' 

Cremorne (Society, 1884). An open- 
air place of amusement frequented by 
doubtful women. From public Lon- 
don gardens of that name, long since 
built over. Applied in 1884 to the 
' Inventories ' (see) when that enter- 
tainment was so frequented by ' tarts ' 
that it became in the evening scarcely 
a place to which a girl could take her 
mother. Now applied generally. 

But as it is certain that no porter with 
a flaming sword can possibly stand at the 
gate to decline the shillings of persons not 
immaculately virtuous, so it is probable 
that some day a cry will be raised about 
a ' Cremorne '. When once that ominous 
word is whispered people begin to be shy 
of their natural pastime of letting the 
evening pass in the open air. D. N., 
10th November 1886. 

Creoles (Amer.). People of Louis- 
ianaprobably a satire by the north 
upon the illegitimate mingling of slave- 
owners' and slaves' blood previous to 

Crib (Street, 1800-40). To conquer 
with the fists fairly. From Tom Crib, 
a celebrated pugilist early in the 19th 
century. To crib, meaning to thrash, is 
still heard in the slums of London and 
other great cities. In the nautical 
novel, 'Rattlin the Reefer' (chap. Ixii.), 
is this paragraph : 

Apt quotation ! you are cabined 
you are cribbed you are confined 
cribbed look at your countenance as I 
said before, 'tis the hand of Providence. 

Crime (Army}. Small fault. Often 
intentional. ' Squinting on parade ' is 
a crime. ' What will a sergeant not 
go for to say ain't you got a crime ? ' 
that is to say, confinement to bar- 
racks or extra drill scored against a 

Crimea (1856). The full-beard 
given to the first long beards worn in 
England from the time of Elizabeth to 
that of Victoria. The fashion of shav- 
ing, which passed from France (Louis 
XIII.) to England, prevailed here long 
after Frenchmen had begun to grow 
hair. The severity of the winter 
1854-55 (in the Crimea) caused the 
issue of an order to wear beards, and 
these were retained. Upon the return 
of the few survivors, their strange and 

fierce beards were thus dubbed, and 
amongst the people the term has re- 
mained. 'My eye, what a Crimeer 
Bill have got along o' the doctor for 
'is bronkikkis (bronchitis).' 

Before the invasion of the Crimea no 
man, ' unless an officer in Her Majesty's 
cavalry, ever ventured to wear a beard or 
moustache'. Sir A. West, Memoirs, 1897. 

Criss-cross (Peoples'). A corruption 
of Christ's Cross one of the few re- 
ligious exclamations which have not 
become vulgarized since the Refor- 
mation. Generally refers to right 
angles in textile fabrics, wood, and 
metal work. Sometimes used excla- 
matively. ' S'help me criss-cross ' (or 
crass), ' I didn't ! ' 

Not many who use this word appear 
to have any idea of its meaning, yet it 
is one of the few old Catholic oaths 
which have retained muck of the 
original sound. 

Croak (Society, 19 cent.). To be 
hypocritical, suggested by the lament- 
able declaration of a frog when he 
tunes up. 

John Hollingshead for some time past 
has been telling his patrons how they 
croaked in 1807. Newsp. Gutting. March 

Crock (Youths', 1870). A bicycle, 
One of the more obscure names for this 
apparatus. Perhaps from part of the 
name of a builder. (See Beast, Bone- 
shaker, Craft.) 

Crocks (Art jargon, 1880). Orna- 
mental china. This term came in 
when, from 1870 to 1880, the porcelain 
mania raged, and huge sums were given 
for even poor specimens of china. This 
word of meek uuobtrusiveness is an 
abbreviation of crockery-ware. (See 
Rags and Timbers. ) 

Crocodile (Society, 1850). A lady's 
school out walking. A ballad in the 
forties went : 

' I'd rather meet a crocodile 
Than meet a lady's school.' 

Crocodiles' Tears (Peoples', 19 cent.). 
Imitation sorrow. 

Many visitors have probably passed by 
the alligator in the somewhat out-of- 
the-way corner where he at present 
sojourns ; but others know him well, 
and love to stir him up until he swells 
out with anger, and emits from the 
corners of his eyes the queer little 
bubbles which pass for crocodiles' tears. 
D. N., 21st March 1883. 

Crocus (Thieves'). A mock doctor 
a cheap-jack gentleman with a 



Crowbar Brigade 

wonderful cure. Simple derivation : 
' croak ', to kill, or cause to croak, and 

Crony (Peoples'). A friend, or rather 
trusted and loved companion. John- 
son says of this word: 'An old 
acquaintance, a companion of long 
standing.' Generally used with the 
qualifying adjective ' old '. Swift has 
this word : 

' Strange an astrologer should die 
Without one warder in the sky ! 
Not one of all his crony stars 
To pay their duty at his herse ! ' 

Pepys (30th May 1665) says : 

'Died Jack Cole, who was a great 
crony of mine.' 

Probably one of the few words came 
from one of the universities. If so, it 
is possibly derived from Chronos. 

Crooked 'un( Peoples'). Crook. The 
reverse of a straight 'un. Generally 
said of a husband who turns out bad. 
' He was about as crooked as they 
make 'em.' (See By Hook or by 

Crop up (Society, 1850). To sud- 
denly appear, or introduced. 'Then 
Jack cropped up' from geological 
term referring to a sudden stratum. 
Accepted when geology became modish. 

Croppie (Scottish). Equivalent of 
Roundhead, and used precisely in the 
same way. Strangely enough, in the 
1798 Irish rebellion, the rebel Irish 
were called croppies, equally from the 
shortness of their hair. A Hanoverian 
song was popular, called * Croppies, lie 
down,' which suggestion of treating 
them as dogs made the rebels very 
wild. In one historical instance a 
servant of thirty years' standing shot 
at the family after hearing one of 
them singing this song. 

Cross-bench mind (Society, IS cent. ). 
Undecided, hesitating ; from the cross 
benches in both Houses of Parliament, 
upon which those peers or members 
seat themselves who have not made up 
their minds to which party they be- 
long. ' Poor man, with his mother to 
the right of him, and his wife to the 
left of him, he has but a cross-bench 

Lord Glenaveril is brought up partly 
in Germany, is born to great estates, and 
takes his seat on the cross-benches of the 
House of Lords. But poor Lord Glen- 
averil with his title, and his land, and his 
patronising Disposition, and his ' cross- 
bench mind '. is merely a puppet through 

whom, about whom, and starting from 
whom, Lord Lytton may expound his 
social and political philosophy. D. N.. 
30th March 1885. 

Crosses (Peoples'). Woes, miseries, 
sorrows. This may be derived from 
'across', or more probably from Catholic 
times, and a reference to carrying the 

Cross-grained (Peoples'). Ill-tem- 
pered, hard to manage. A trade 
metaphor, from the carpenter's shop, 
where cross-grained wood is hard to 
deal with. 

Cross -life men (Thieves', 1878). 
Men who get their living by felony. 
Used amongst themselves rather 
plaintively it would seem, and in re- 
markable contrast with the 18th cen- 
tury term, ' gentlemen of the road ', 
' high toby men ', and others. 

Sir H. James What do you mean by 
men of your class ? Witness Men of the 
world (laughter) men like myself. I 
did not tell him that I had seen gentle- 
men's servants there I am certain of 
that. I did not use the term that the 
room was the resort of cross-life men 
(thieves). Bignell v. Iforsley, 1880. 

Cross the Ruby (Fast World, early 
Id cent.). A grotesque abbreviation of 
'cross the Rubicon', with the same 
meaning. Ruby was then the name for 
port wine. 

Crocheteer (Society, 1880). A patron 
of crotchets. 

Within later years the ladies and 
gentlemen who feel so strongly on the 
subjects of vivisection, compulsory vac- 
cination, teetotalism, Sunday closing, and 
other cognate topics, have been called 
crotcheteers. G. A. Sala, /. L. N., 12th 
May 1883. 

Crotchetty (Society, 1 9 cent. ). Eccen- 
tric, unexpected. Trade metaphor; 
from music. Probably from the time 
when solemn, slow church music was 
enlivened by the comparatively quick 
crotchet ; or it may be from a man 
named Crotchet. 

Crowbar Brigade (Irish, 1848). 
The Irish Constabulary. From the 
crowbar used in throwing down cot- 
tages to complete eviction of tenants. 

After a while the whole posse sheriff, 
sub-sheriff, agent, bailiffs, and attendant 
policemen came to be designated the 
'Crowbar Brigade '.- A. M. Sullivan, 

Still used to deride policemen in 


Crowbar Landlord 


Crowbar Landlord (Ireland, 19 
cent.). Outcome of Crowbar Brigade. 

I recommend my countrymen to shoot 
the crowbar landlord as we shoot robbers 
or rats, at night, or in the day, on the 
roadside or in the market - place ! 
T. Mooney, California, 1865. 

Crowd ( Theatrical, 1870 on). Simply 
the audience; e.g., 'What sort of a 
crowd is it to-night ? ' Also a theatri- 
cal company; e.g., 'Who's in the 
crowd ? ' ' Lai Brought and Arthur 
Roberts.' 'Oh, then, there will be at 
least half-a-dozen laughs.' Also said 
of the mass of supers, whose numbers 
increase yearly ; e.g., 'I? What do / 
do ? Oh, I go on with the crowd.' 

Crows' feet (Soc.). Diverging Delta 
wrinkles at the outer angles of the 

Crow's nest (Soc., 1850 on). Small 
bedroom for bachelors high up in 
country houses, and on a level with 
the tree tops ; e.g., 'Give me a crow's 
nest, and pray save me from the state 

Cruel classes (Soc., 1893). Used 
by the Duke of York, 6th February 
1893, on the occasion of his first public 
speech, as chairman of a dinner in aid 
of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty 
to Children. At once took, as distin- 
guishing the savages of the lowest 
classes from the lowest classes gener- 

Until this Society came into existence 
the lives of young children belonging to 
the cruel classes of the community could 
not be considered secure. Their very 
helplessness made them an easy prey. 

Crumb. See Bit o' Crumb. 

Crumpet. See Barmy. 

Crush the stur ( Thieves'). To break 
from prison stur being abbreviation 
of sturaban. 

A short time after I ascertained from 
the jailor who payed me a visit, that my 
two ' fly ' friends had ' crushed the stir ', 
and were at large, ready to prey on the 
community again. 

Crushed (Soc., 1895). Spoony, in 
love with. 

Quite new is the slang ' crushed '. It 
is used in place of the expression, 
'mashed', 'struck', etc., and is quite 
au fait with the summer resort girls. 
One hears everywhere murmurs of Charlie 
Binks being utterly 'crushed' on Mabel 
Banks, and so on with regard to various 
things. Dora tells Flora that she is 
* crushed ' on Jim's new sailor, when she 
really isn't damaging his headgear at all, 


and so it goes. The English language is 
getting awfully queer ! American Paper. 

Crusher (Peoples'). A policeman 
evidently a word suggesting respect for 
the force. Mr W. 8. Gilbert used this 
word in the Bab Ballads. 

' One day that crusher lost his way, 
In Poland Street, Soho ! ' 

Crushers (Namj). Ships' corporals, 
who are the rank and file of the master- 
at-arms. Descriptive term, borrowed 
from ashore, where this term is still 
applied satirically to policemen. 

Crusoe (Iron Trade). A good ex- 
ample of anglicising ; name given by 
English ironmasters and workmen to 
the great French ironworks at Creuzot 
a reminiscence of Robinson Crusoe. 

Cry! (Peoples'). Shape of Carai 
probably introduced by English gipsies 
passing from Spain. One of the libi- 
dinous good- wishes at nightfall, similar 
to Carambo. Both words more or less 
known to the oi polloi. Now applied 
indiscriminately to express surprise of 
a satiric character. 

Cry haro (Jersey). A synonym of 
justice. Word used by people calling 
upon their lords for interference. One 
of the first railway engines run out of 
St Helier's was named ' Haro '. Now 
used as a 'jollying'. 

It is characteristic of the satirists of 
the hour that they make their victims' 
very sobriety a reproach. If he is per- 
fectly well dressed, an excellent thing in 
youth, is exceptionally quiet and well 
bred, and goes frequently to the theatre, 
they dub him a ' masher ', and ' cry haro ' 
upon him. Newsp. Cutting, 1883. 

Cuff-shooter (Street, 1875 on). A 
clerk. Name invented after the intro- 
duction of shirt-cuffs wide enough to 
come down well over the hands ; a 
movement of the arm to throw forward 
the cuffs was called cuff-shooting ; said 
scornfully or enviously of young clerks 
popularly supposed to consider them- 
selves leading gentlemen; e.g., 'Well, 
what if I am a coster? I earns a 
dollar (5s.), where a blooming cuff- 
shooter don't make a 'og ' (Is.). 

This wide cuff was introduced by the 
late Duke of Clarence. He also in- 
vented the high collar. Indeed the 
prince's designation was familiarly 
' cuffs and collars ' finally ' cuffs '. 

Culver -head (Lower Classes). A 
fool ; practically calf-head. Probably 
from Dutch fishermen (chiefly with 
eels) frequenting Billingsgate, once the 

Cum Grano 


matrix of so many vigorous phrases. 
If from Holland of course the word is 
a corruption of Kalver, which gives a 
name to one of the chief streets of 

When the culver-headed yeknods are 
down in the dumps, strike us pink if 
they're not as humble as a blackberry 
swagger. Cutting. 

Cum grano (Anglo- Amer.). Ab- 
breviation of ' cum grano salis ' with 
the same meaning. To listen with 

Managers as a rule agree with Talley- 
rand that words were made to conceal 
thoughts, hence theatrical announce- 
ments are always received cum grano by 
the public. Newsp. Cutting, 1883. 

Cummifo (Peoples'}. Cockney for 
com/me ilfaut. 

Were it not that she is a lady, and 
possesses the cachet of foreign and not 
home production, there are folk who 
might begin to have a dawning suspicion 
that she is within a couple of miles or so 
of being not quite as cummifo as she 
might be.Ref., 28th April 1889. 

Cup o' tea (Colloquial, 1870). Con- 
solation probably suggested by a cup 
of tea being ' so very refreshing ' to 
persons who do not drink any shape of 
alcohol. Used satirically of a trouble- 
some person. 

'Oh, don't yer though. You are a 
nice strong cup o' tea.' Cutting. 

Cupboard (Lower Classes). Hungry. 
Hunger suggested by mentioning a food 

A pleasant hour or so was spent here, 
and then we turned our faces back 
towards Valletta, full ready for the lunch 
on which in my mind's eye, Horatio, I 
had been feasting for some while before 
my internal economy set up its cry of 
' Cupboard ' \-Ref., 6th June 1886. 

Cupboardy (Com. Land.). Close 
and stuffy. 

I ain't one of them fellers as thinks 
that you can't keep healthy without yer 
drinks rose water and eats cream cheese, 
but, surely me, if the air of the alley 
ain't a-gettin' rayther too cupboardy for 
my stomach. D. T. (Greenwood). 

Curled Darlings (Soc., 1856). A 
name given to military officers immedi- 
ately after the Crimean War, which 
once more brought soldiers into fashion. 
Referred to the waving of the long 
beard and sweeping moustache. 

But it is needless to cite instances to 
be found by the score in warlike annals, 
from the ' Gentlemen of the French 
Guard fire first' at Fontenoy to the well- 

fought field at Inkerman, when the 
'curled darlings' approved themselves 
metal of the right temper. Newsp. 
Cutting, May 1883. 

Curmudgeon (Anglicized French, 
17 cent.). Coeur mediant. Probably 
from court of Charles II. The phrase 
is colloquial in France. 

But he would be a curmudgeon, in- 
deed, who grudged the warmest praise 
for an entertainment light, lively, and 
melodious, appealing to the eye and 
grateful to the ear. D. T., 9th May 
1899. (See Quandary.) 

Coeur mediant is much objected to 
as the origin of this word. It is fully 
accepted here on the principle that the 
more obvious derivation is preferred to 
the more erudite, on the ground that 
corrupters of phrases are generally 

Curse o' Cromwell (Irish). One of 
the more vigorous civilities exercised 
by the lower Irish to their equals. No 
one seems to know what the 'curse' 
W as probably his presence in his life- 
time possibly tertian fever after the 
death of the Protector. 

Curtain (Theatrical, 1860 on). A 
tableau at finish of act or play, to 
obtain applause. 

It matters little for the purpose of 
romance whether or not Nelson saw Miss 
Emma Hart in Romney's studio before he 
met her a married woman at Naples. 
These things have to be done for stage- 
craft, for theatrical tricks, for what are 
vulgarly called 'curtains'. P. T., 12th 
February 1897. 

It is singular, considering how excel- 
lently French dramatists write, that they 
so frequently fail in getting a good 
< curtain '.Ref., 15th March 1885. 

Also a 'call before the curtain' at 
the end of an act or a piece. 

Edward Russell plays well as Peggotty. 
His acting, if a little too hurried, was 
full of power, and he revealed consider- 
able pathos. He was rewarded with 
several ' curtains '. 

(See Take a curtain Quick curtain.) 

Curtain-taker (Theatrical, 1882). 
An actor more eager even than his 
brethren to appear before the curtain 
after its fall. (See Take a Curtain, 
Lightning Curtain-taker, Fake a cur- 

Curtains (Regimental.) A name 
given to one of the first modes of 
wearing the hair low on the military 
forehead (1870). The locks were 
divided in the centre, and the front 


Cut a Finger 

D. V. 

hair was brought down in two loops, 
each rounding away towards the temple. 
The hair was glossed and flattened. 
Quiver. (See Sixes, To put on the, 
Scoop, etc.). 

Cut a finger (Lower Classes'). To 
cause a disagreeable odour; e.g., 'My 
hi ! some cove's cut 'is finger.' 

Cut and run (Peoples'). Make off 
rapidly, retire without permission. 
Trade metaphor. From sailoring, and 
act of cutting a vessel in the night- 
time from her moorings and then run- 
ning before the wind. Very general : 
probably accepted from T. P. Cook in 
Black-Eyed Susan. 

Cut one's stick (Old Eng.) To 
travel for work the stick being cut or 
obtained for helpful and probably 
defensive purposes. 

Cut the line (Printers'). To knock 
off work for a time ; origin obscure, 
but may refer to the line of type. 

Cut the record (Peoples' sporting). 
Victory. Here cut is used as sur- 

People are saying that the Inventions 
Exhibition is not so much talked of as 
previous displays at South Kensington 
have been ; but I think that as soon as 
we get hot weather, the admission returns 
will cut all previous records. Entr'acte. 
30th May 1885. 

Cut-throat (W. Amer.J. Destruc- 
tive, reckless applied to card-playing. 

It is not uncommon, therefore, to see 
merchants (especially American) having 
a social game of ' cut - throat monte ', 
' eucre ', or ' poker ', with piles of gold 
before them. All the Year Round, 31st 
October 1868. 

Cycling fringes (Cycling, 1897). 
Especially prepared forehead - hair to 
be worn by such women bikers as had 
not abjured all feminine vanities. 

It may be, of course, both libellous and 
ungallant to suggest that there could be 
any possible connection with those won- 
derful ' cycling fringes, warranted never 
to come out of curl,' at present filling the 
barbers' windows. 10th March 1897. 

Cyclophobist (Literary, 1880). An 
invented word to describe haters of 
tradesmen's circulars. 

The word ' cyclophobist ' is still com- 
paratively new to the English language, 
and perhaps it is not a very scholarly 
compound to express ' a man who hates 
and dreads tradesmen's circulars'. 
D. N.. 6th January 1882. 

Naturally came to be applied to the 

opponent of the bicycle, as this vehicle 
became ubiquitous. 

The chairman, on whose suggestion the 
communication was laid on the table in 
the first instance, explained that he was 
not a 'cyclophobist', but he did most 
emphatically object to scorchers, and 
racers, and pacemakers, and also to care- 
less riders, of whom he and many other 
people went in daily terror. D. T., 9th 
December 1897. 

Cyrano (Soc., 1900). A huge nose. 
Due to the popularity of Rostand's 
play, Cyrano de Bergerac, whose hero 
had a phenomenal nose, imitated in 
pasteboard by French and English 
actors who played the part. Pro- 
nounced See-ra-no, with the accent on 
the first. A dactyl. 

Miss Annie Hughes was as unlike Sam 
Weller as it is possible to conceive. The 
immortal ' man ' was not a dandy ' tiger ' 
with a Whitechapel accent and a Cyrano 
nose. D. T., 16th April 1900. 

(See Boko, Duke.) 


D. B. (Theatrical). A masked mode 
of condemnation. 

Although Miss Deby was d. b. which 
being interpreted means deucedly bad 
some of those about her were deucedly 
good. Newsp. Cutting. 

D. D. (Naval). Discharged dead. 

The usual way on board a man-of-war 
of writing a man's epitaph ; as : 'Bill ? 
Oh! he's D. D. this year agone.' 
Captain Chamier, 1820. 

D. T. Centres (Lit., 1880 on). 
Minor Bohemian, literary, artistic, and 
musical clubs from the jollity, or 
supposed jollity, of a Bacchic character 
which continually proceeds within their 
walls. D. T. is a reduction to the 
absurd of delirium tremens or 'tre- 
menses,' as some comic folk style that 
self-imposed disease. 

D. V. (Atheistic). A satiric and 
not very adroit application of the 
initials of ' Deo Volente ', to ' Doubtful 
very '. 

Fred Hughes says that the letters 
' D. V. ' in his advertisement referring 
to his appearance at the Jumbo Theatre, 
mean ' doubtful very '. I thought so. \ 

D. V. (Soc.). Divorce. Another 
shape of satire upon Deo Volente 
Heaven, of course, having certainly 



nothing to do with the performance, if 
papal authority is of any value. 
Daddies (Pugilistic). Hands. 
All was in readiness, and the men 
having shaken daddies, the seconds re- 
tired to their corners, and at 12.56 com- 
menced the fight. Newsp. Cutting, 1862. 
Daisy (Amer., passing to England, 
1870). A charming, fresh, delightful 
person or thing. 

An enthusiastic admirer of ' The Silver 
King ' lately, in the upper circle of the 
Grand Opera House audibly proclaimed 
Wilfrid Denver to be 'a daisy '. Newsp. 
Cutting, October 1883. 

This morning a young man walked into 
the office with a huge watermelon in his 
arms. Placing his burden on the counter 
he addressed the agent : ' Now, isn't that 
melon a daisy ? ' Newsp. Cutting. 

Specially used (and abused) as a 
sentimental basis ; hence ' Daisy ' came 
to he synonymous with humhug. 

He took me by the ear and said I 
couldn't come no ' daisy ' business on 
him. Detroit Free Press, 1883. 

Also a satirical term for a drunken 

Detective Lanthier had hardly ap- 
proached the platform where the ' Female 
Dudes ' were on exhibition when a piping 
voice exclaimed familiarly : 'Vote for me, 
mister ; I am a daisy ! ' N . Y. Mercury, 
8th October 1883. 

Daisy Crown of Cricket (Sporting, 
1883 on). Poets have their imaginary 
bays, warriors their imagined laurels 
the field daisy, therefore, is the appro- 
priate floral emblem given to the cham- 
pion bowler, batter, fielder, et hoc. 

Oxford, so far, is retaining her mari- 
time supremacy, though the daisy crown 
of cricket is decorating other brows. 
D.N., 6th July 1883. 

Daisy-five-o' docker (Amer.-Eng.}. 
A charming five o'clock tea. An ex- 
treme application of daisy, as a term 
of approbation. 

Dam (University}. Abbreviation of 
* damage ' in relation to payment for 
entertainment or entry to place of 
amusement; e.g., 'What's the dam?' 
' A sov. per fellow.' 

Damager (Theatrical, 1880). A 
nonsense name for manager. Perhaps 
some covert reference to his autocratic 
power of sweeping out a comedian. 

The green room became so crowded 
that at last the damager was compelled 
to put up a notice. Neiosp. Cutting. 

Then a damager took him in hand and 
engaged him to come on first. Newsp. 

Dame (Eton). A master who con- 
fines his attention to mathematics. To 
some extent a supercilious term. 

' Badger ' Hale went to this school as 
a mathematical teacher, and though for 
the last twenty years he took the classes 
in natural science, he remained, to use 
the Eton term, a ' dame ' that is to say, 
a house-master who did not teach the 
classics, and whose boys consequently 
always had a ' tutor ' as well outside. 
D. T., 26th July 1894. 

Damfino (Anglo- Amer.} The last 
instance of abbreviation and obscure 
swearing. ' I am damned if I know ' 
is its origin. 

A vicious college student being asked 
what he intended doing after graduating, 
replied: 'Damfino; preach, I s'pose.' 

Damfoolishness (Amer., passing to 
Eng.}. Intensification of foolishness, 
and abbreviation of damned foolishness. 
' Now, Hennery, I am going to break 
you of this damf oolishness, or I will break 
your neck.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Damned (Theatrical, 18 and 19 
cent.}. Condemned utterly ; e.g., 'The 
piece was damned from the gods to the 

Damned good swine up (Peoples', 
1880). A loud quarrel. Suspected to 
be of American origin. In the States 
the ' swine ' are more demonstrative 
than at home. Here even the common 
pig is quarrelsome ; e.g., 'Tell Cecil to 
tone himself down a bit, or we shall 
have a damned good swine up.' 

Damirish (Amer., 1883). A dis- 
guised euphemism for ' damned Irish '. 
When I read the story in the papers 
about the explosion in the British Parlia- 
ment pa was hot. He said the dam- 
irish was ruining the whole world. A 
Bad Boy's Diary, 1883. 

Damp bourbon poultice (Amer. 
Saloon}. A ' go ' of whiskey. 

' Postage stamps ', replied the country 
merchant, as he slammed the door and 
went out to soothe his feelings with a 
damp bourbon poultice. Newsp. Cutting. 
Dampen (Amer., Theatrical}. A 
euphemism for ' to damn '. 

Most interesting, but the ' heroine ' 
dying so soon, rather dampens the piece 
in her opinion. Newsp. Cutting. 

Damper (Soc., 1886 on). A dinner- 
bill a document which has steadily 
increased in importance through many 
years. Term recognised in the lines 
attributed to Theodore Hook. 
Men laugh and talk until the feast is o'er ; 
Then comes the reckoning, and they 
laugh no more ! 



Dash my Wig 

Curiously enough the French found 
a correlative title to Damper, viz., 
La Douloureuse. 

La Douloureuse ! Few know that in 
modern French slang it means the bill 
that is offered to a generous host after 
the dinner is over and the reckoning is at 
hand. D. T., 29th June 1897. 

Dance (Fashion, 1890). A ball 
this latter word being only used for 
solemn state and aristocratic functions. 

The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire 
gave a large dinner party last evening at 
Devonshire House, followed by a dance 
reaching the dimensions of a ball, only 
that the word has fallen out of favour 
save for public functions. D. T., 6th 
July 1899. 

Dance upon nothing (Peoples', 18 
cent.}. To be hanged the convulsive 
motions of the legs in the air suggest- 
ing the phrase. Probably took the 
place of * Mount the cart' (q.v.), when 
the place of hanging was in the prison, 
or its shadow, and a cart was no longer 
in vogue. Passing away in appositeness, 
now that the hangman uses a long rope, 
so that the neck is broken, and the 
victim does not struggle. (See Hemp 
is grown for you.) 

Dancing dogs (circa, 1880). A 
satirical title applied to ' dancing men ' 
when dancing began to go out. 

Then drop in those supercilious masters 
of the situation, the dancing young men, 
the 'dancing dogs', as they have been 
called. D. N. Leader, 27th March 1884. 

Dander riz (Amer.). Classic in 
Sam Slide. * Dander ' is indignation ; 
' riz ', a diminutive of ' raised '. Dander 
is probably from the old Dutch of 
the early American settlers the 
source of so much American droll 

I don't for a moment say that she 
would ; but, quoting from one of the 
Claimant's own letters, ' Anna Maria has 
got a timper of her own ', and there is no 
knowing what she might say if her 
'dander were riz'. Entr'acte, 1st Nov- 
ember 1884. 

Darbey ( Thieves'). A haul (of course 
of stolen goods). 

< Ben You ought to be in London on 
the 10th of this month. The Prince of 
Wales will be married, every place will 
be Juminated, and all the " lads " expect 
to make a good " darbey " (good haul, or 
robbery). Old Bill Clark expects about 
24 reddings (gold watches), and old Tom 
and Joe expect twice as many.' Thief's 
Intercepted Letter, March 1863. 

In the plural this word represents 

the common name for handcuffs. It 
were curious to trace the first of these 
bracelets to Derby, which * on the spot ' 
is, or at all events was, pronounced 
' Darby.' 

Dark as a pocket (Merchant Sea- 
mens'). Very expressive. 

Darkies (Lower Lond. Soc., 1860 
on). A synonym for the coal-hole, 
the shades, and the cider cellar 
places of midnight entertainment in or 
near the Strand, all famous in the mid- 
nineteenth century. 

The days of The Cider Cellars, and 
The Shades, called in slang terms ' The 
Darkies ' and? ' The Coal Holes '. and the 
low music-halls with their abominable 
songs, and the Haymarket orgies and the 
dancing saloons disappeared. D. T., 
20th November 1896. 

Darn(Eng.-Amer.). A United States 
evasion of damn, and very suggestive 
of household occupation and equally 
innocent swearing. ( See Dern. ) 

When Sacramento was being destroyed 
by fire some of the merchants managed 
to save some champagne, and, going 
outside the town, drank ' Better luck 
next time. This is a great country.' 
Next day a tavern-keeper had a space 
cleared among the ruins, and over a little 
board shanty hastily run up was this 
inscription : ' Lafayette House. Drinks 
two bits. Who cares a darn for a fire ! ' 
All the Year Round, 31st October 1868. 

Some writers maintain that this term 
went to U.S.A. from England, upon 
the argument of the phrase, ' Darn my 
old wig,' which cannot be American. 
Here a kind of pun was intended, for 
wigs were economically darned. Wigs 
have passed away, as a fashion, over a 
hundred years, yet this phrase is still 
heard at and about Plymouth, which 
suggests that the word may have 
crossed the ditch in due course, sailing 
long after the Mayflower. 

Vance thinks that the management of 
Her Majesty's Theatre are a darned sight 
too particular. Newsp. Gutting, March 
1883. (V. was a very clever comic singer, 
and most comic in petticoats). 

Dash my wig (Peoples'). Another 
version of ' darn ' in the time of wigs. 
Still heard, though wigs are seldom 
referred to, if worn ; rarely worn 
amongst men. Some wild etymologists 
hold this to be a perversion of ' Dish the 
Whigs', but they do not give the clue. 
Dishing the Whigs, by the way, may 
mean ' douching' them, though, on the 




other hand, there is a common expres- 
sion, ' Well, I'm dished ! ' but this is 
supposed to be a corruption of dashed, 
in its previous turn a corruption of 
d dash d, the printer's moral evasion 
of 'damn' when the printing of this 
word was in bad taste, and was bad in 

Daverdy (Devon). Careless. Pro- 
bably from an individual notoriously 
untidy possibly David Day. 

Day-bugs (Essex schools). Day 
scholars ; e.g., ' Don't row with that 
fellow, he's only a day-bug ' said by a 
night-flea or boarder. This phrase is 
interesting as showing that the U.S.A. 
habit of using ' bug ' for beetle went 
from England. 

Dead as a door-nail (Peoples' ; from 
Ireland). Dead as O'Donnel ; on all 
fours with ' I'll smash you into 
smithereens ' that is to say, Smithers' 
Ruins S. having had his house pulled 
about his ears. O'Donnel being dead 
and Smithers no longer alive, the two 
folk -phrases become, the one anglicized 
into ' door-nail ', the other into a 
powerful word representing complete 
destruction, one which is heard to this 
day amongst the Irish lower classes 
wherever found. Probably many 
phrases, such as ' The Twinkling of a 
Bed-post', etc., are built upon proper 
names which have faded from memory, 
while the phrases relating to them 
remain. Dickens begins his Christmas 
Carol with this phrase : * Morley was 
dead as a door-nail to begin with ! ' 

Falsta/: What ! is the old king dead ? 

Pistol: As nail in door : the things I 
speak are just. Shakspeare. 

Dead-be at ( A mer. ~Eng. ). A pauper 
lost his last copper. 

' Hang me ef I savvy ! He didn't 
pungle, he ain't got no kit ; and nobody 
don't know him ! Now it's my opinion 
he's a dead beat that's how I put him 
up ! ' Newsp. Cutting. 

Dead broke (A mer. -Eng.). Another 
reading of dead beat. 

' Cheap enough dog cheap for the fun 
I had, but I'm dead broke. Had 60 dol- 
lars yesterday morning, but she's gone 
all gone not a red left.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Dead give away (Amer.). A 
swindle, deception. 

He would seem to argue with her that 
a brood of chickens would be a dead give 
away on them both. Newsp. Cutting. 

Dead-eye (Sailors', 19 cent.). 
Generally ' A bit o' dead-eye '. Figura- 

tive reference to esoteric effort. ID 
ordinary nautical language ' dead-eyes ' 
are the small clean-cut holes worked in 
rigging blocks, and in ships' woodwork 
generally. They certainly have an 
appearance of shadowed sight, which 
is very startling at times. Mr W. S. 
Gilbert gave this term to his hero, 
Dick Dead-eye, in the opera-bouffe 
E.M.S. Pinafore (1878). 

Deadhead ( Theatrical, from A mer. ). 
One who does not pay his or her entrance 
fee. Critics are professional deadheads. 
Hebrews are the great sinners in this 
connection, they getting their free 
passes, they themselves only knowing 
where. All 'theatrical people' are 
deadheads, for they never pay to enter 
a theatre. ' The female deadhead was 
in a red opera cloak she always is.' 
This vermilion stain, however, has now 

I have not paid a cent for a seat at the 
theatre in twenty years. I boast of this 
sometimes. Why is this? I am sup- 
posed to have ' influence '. I am one of 
the old ' men about town '. Really I am 
without influence. But no matter. Let 
me live out the remainder of my theatri- 
cal days in peace. I shall be a real dead- 
head soon. Soliloquy by ' Old Deadhead'. 

Mr B. V. Page has written a good song 
for Miss Tilley on the ' deadhead ' lay. 
After this, how can I expect him to pass 
me into the Cambridge stalls ? Entr'acte, 
30th May 1885. (See Order dead- 

He wished also to add that there 
were quite ' Deadheads ' enough visiting 
theatres. Mr Chance asked what that 
meant. Mr Parkes said it meant a class 
of persons who under various excuses 
obtained or attempted to obtain admis- 
sion to theatres and places of public 
entertainment without paying. Newsp. 
Cutting, 1882. 

The experienced eye can always 
divide the deadheads from the ' plank- 
downers ' in a theatre. The dead- 
heads are always dressed badly, and 
give themselves airs when looking at 
the inferior parts of the house. The 
plank- downers never give themselves 
airs, mean business, and only look at 
the stage. Deadheads are very empha- 
tically thus described by a theatrical 
official : 'Here come two more dead- 
heads ; look at their boots.' 

Dead-lock (Street, 1887 on). A 
Lock Hospital. Very significant; 
e.g., ' Don't muck about always go to 
the dead -lock.' Applied from the 


Dead Number 

Delo Diam 

habit of stags clinching their horns, 
and fighting thus to the death. 

Dead number (Com. Lond.). The 
last number in a row or street ; per- 
haps the end of the street. 

Dead 'un (City). A bankrupt com- 
pany ; e.g., 'The All Round Blessing 
Assurance is a dead 'un.' (Set 
Cadaver. ) 

Dead wood (Amer. forest}. Advan- 
tage. Origin very obscure. In clearing 
trees a skilful axeman so acts as to 
take every advantage from the hang of 
the tree that it may heel over and save 
him as much cutting as possible. The 
gain is ' dead wood'. 

She extracted a twenty dollar bill, and 
remarked : ' I reckon I've got the dead 
wood on that new bonnet I've been 
sufferin' for.' Texas Si f tings. 

Deal of weather about (Nautical). 
Bad meteorological times. For sailors 
fine weather is no weather at all. On 
the sea the word always means dis- 
comfort and struggle, as may be seen 
in its use, ' weather the storm '. 

Deaner, The (Oxford 'er). The 

The dean of a college is the ' deaner' 
or the ' dagger ', while even this is re- 
duced by some to ' the dag'. D. T., 14th 
August 1899. 

Dear me (Soc., passed to people). 
Exclamation used by the best people ; 
may be a corruption of Dio mio. 
Possibly introduced by Maria Beatrice 
of Modena, second wife of James II. 

As a matter of fact, women do appeal 
a good deal, and often when they do not 
know it. What is the meaning of ' Dear 
me ' ? As English it is absolutely mean- 
ingless. It is a mere phase, an expletive, 
until we understand it as a corruption of 
' Dio mio '. 

Or it may be ' Dieu mais ', an ex- 
clamation which came into use im- 
mediately after the Restoration in- 
troduced by one of the French Court 

Death on (Amer.). Determined, 
even at the risk of life. 

Birmingham, to use the Yankee verna- 
cular, which is well understood in that 
locality, is 'death on ' Woman Suffrage. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Death - promoter (Amer., about 
1880). An ominous synonym for 
alcoholic drink. This phrase is a very 
fine instance of the etymological land- 
marks sometimes perhaps often 
afforded by passing English. Here is 

seen subterfugal conviction of the 
danger of alcoholic indulgence, even 
taking possession of the intelligence of 
the very patron of whiskey himself. 
Throughout history there is no period 
before the end of the 19th century 
where alcohol is associated with death 
if we except L'assommoir, a cudgel, 
and used in France to describe a 
drinking-bar. (See ' Pisen'. ) 

Decadent (Soc., 1885 - 90). A 
synonym for degenerate (noun and 
adjective), and the antithesis of 
atavism, atavistic (q.v.). 

The most extravagant guesses were 
made as to its authorship the writer 
having for obvious reasons cloaked him- 
self with anonymity and it was even 
whispered that the book came from the 
hand of a famous decadent, who ' dropped 
out ' some time back. Sun. 7th Novem- 
ber 1899. 

Decencies ( Theatrical). Pads used 
by actors, as distinct from actresses, to 
ameliorate outline. 

Deck (Gaming). A pack of cards. 

John Kernell tells of an actor who 
spouted his trunk for his board, claiming 
that it contained fifty-three pieces. When 
the landlady opened it she found a paper 
collar and a deck of cards. Newsp. 

Deck (Costers' ; local). The Seven 
Dials (W. London). ' He's a decker ' 
means he lives in the classic dials. 
(See Seven Dials' Raker.) 

Degenerate (Soc., 1899). A liber- 
tine (male), a woman of gallantry 
(female). Its antithesis was regenerate, 
which probably meant a return to a 
reasonable life, and church at least once 
on Sunday. A play styled The De- 
generates, by Sydney Grundy, with 
Mrs Langtry for lead, was set before 
the public in the autumn. 

To-night you receive and receive most 
hospitably and graciously a member of 
the theatrical profession. Whether your 
taste in this respect is better or worse 
than your father's, whether you are de- 
generates or regenerates I must ask 
others to decide. Charles Wyndham (at 
Argonaut Club), 13th November 1899. 

Degrugfger (Oxford ' er '). A degree. 

When you passed an examination you 
obtained a testamur or certificate, which 
was labelled a ' testugger ', and thanks 
to it you could proceed to take a ' de- 
grugger ', which is Oxford for Degree. 
D. T., 14th August 1899. 

Delo diam (Back slang}. An old 
maid ; in common use. 

Delo Nammow 

Deuce o' Denas 

When a bloke's hard up it's the delo 
diam who is his friend. When a poor 
girl goes wrong it is the delo diam who 
gives her shelter until the kid is born. 
Delo diams are angels on this muddy 
earth, and if there is a heaven delo diams 
will take a front seat there. Newsp. 
Cutting, 1883. 

Delo nammow (Back slang). Old 

' If he doesn't pay that delo nammow 
eighteenpence for washing there will be 
a bankruptcy at his door.' Newsp. 

Delo nam o' the Barrack (Thieves'). 
4 Old man ', which is back spelling, and 
' Master of the house ' barrack, used 
for house ; probably being obtained 
from soldiers on furlough. 

'Delphi (Theatr.). Mass pronoun - 
ciation of ' Adelphi ', the great house, 
through the Victorian era of melo- 
drama in the Strand. (See 'Lane. ) 

Demijohn (Peoples'). Large mea- 
sure, swingeing draught. Probably 
from a measure of the time of King 
John ; e.g., ' All gome well, that was 
a demijohn, that was.' Johnson has 
nothing to say about it. 

Demons (Austral.). Old hands at 
bushranging ; derived from men who 
arrive from Van Dieman's Land (Tas- 
mania), some of whom are popularly 
supposed to have inaugurated bush- 
ranging in Australia. 

Den (Public-house). A name gener- 
ally given to a public-house frequented 
night after night by the same set, and 
bestowed by them half-raefully, half- 

Dennis (Sailors'). Nothing except 
below contempt ; e.g., ' Hullo, Dennis !' 
' Oh, I'm Dennis, am I ? ' Sailors always 
call the ' pig ' Dennis. This may have 
reference to a certain sister isle and it 
may not. (See Mud. ) 

Derby (Sporting). To pawn. At a 
time when men still were foolish 
enough to take their watches to races, 
and especially the crowded Derby, 
they were frequently ' rushed' (that is, 
* pushed at ', but passing language is 
always industriously inclined to be 
lazy enough to save a word) for their 
watches. This became so common 
that men who pawned their watches 
would say they had been stolen on 
the Derby or other course. Satirical 
friends saw the point, and hence a new 
verb for ' to pawn ' was added to the 
countless stores of changing English. 

Dern (Amer.). Another of the 
evasive stages of ' damn '. 

' Never held such derned hands in my 
life. Beat the game, though. 'Newsp. 
Cutting. (SeeD&rn.) 

The study of evaded swearing in 
English may be interestingly compared 
with the same process in French. In 
the former the evasion is always a 
concession to religious thought, in the 
latter it is always an attack. For 
instance, 'Sacre nom de Dieu' has 
fallen to ' Ore nom de Chou '. Any 
one can mark the sound similarity of 
the final words the pronounciation of 
' chou ' being something like the mode 
in which ' dieu ' is uttered by Alsacians 
and Auvergnats. But how needless 
is the offence of calling the Almighty 
a cabbage. 

Desert (Soc., 1892 on). Ladies' 
Club from the absence of members. 

Deuce. Dusius the erotic God of 
Nightmare, passing (15th century in 
England) into Robin Goodfellow. Also 
applied to the four two's of a pack of 
cards here from the French ' deux ', 
playing cards having arrived from 
Paris, precisely as the three is called 
' tray ' from trois. There is no 
association between dusius and the 
deuce of clubs say, or any other card 

' It's true, I admit, that women have 
babies, but who the dooce has to keep 

t a * 

em ? 

The most familiar shape of Deuce is 
Robin Goodfellow, whose pictorial re- 
presentation has long since been turned 
out of good society. If any carious 
reader is desirous of seeing him in his 
habit as he lived, he must be prepared 
to pay him five pounds for a copy of 
Mr Thomas Wright's remarkable little 
book upon Phallic worship. Its study 
will enable him to comprehend Shake- 
speare's allusions to this alarming per- 
sonage probably Robin Goodfiller. 

Deucid or Deuced ( Peoples'). Either 
corruption of decided, or meaning 
devilish in the more daily use of that 
word, as in * He's a devilish good 
fellow '. In the latter case it is derived 
from deuce. George Eliot, in ' Felix 
Holt,' ch. 17, makes it 'deuced'. 
' He has inherited a deuced faculty for 

Deuce o' denas (Thieves'). From 
deux, two, and dena, shilling. 

If you ask them to lend you a deuce o' 


Deuce take You 


denas, very likely you won't get it. 
Newsp Cutting. 

Deuce take you (National). Ejacu- 
lation desiring that Satan may fly 
away with you. Sometimes imper- 
sonal ' Deuce take it.' From Dusius 

* They were in fact the fauns and 
satyrs of antiquity, haunting, as they 
did, the wild woods. As incubi they 
visited houses at night. They made 
their presence known as nightmare. 
They were known at an early period in 
Gaul by the name of dusii, from which, 
as the church taught that all these 
mythic personages were devils, we 
derive our modern word deuce used in 
auch phrases as " Deuce take you ! " ' 
R. Payne Knight, Worship of Priapus. 

Devil doubt you, The (Peoples'). 
Very commonly used in this form, but 
in full, 'I don't' is added. Used to 
concede a violent assertion on the other 
side. ' I'm a scorcher, I am,' to which 
the reply would be, ' The devil doubt 
you / don't ; ' probably from the time 
when compliments were still passed to 
Satan on the Persian plan. Means 
' I am not clever enough to dispute 
your theory ; it requires one as clever 
as Satan to question your assertion.' 
Probably the most familiar oath, if it 
is an oath, in the English language. 

Devil's dinner hour (Artisani). 
Midnight, the hour for all Satanic 
revels. Said in reference to working 

Devil's luck and my own (Peoples'). 
No luck whatever. The demon having 
been lamed early in life, and frequently 
cheated of his prey, even of the Fausts 
of this world, his luck is not extensive ; 
e.g., 'Getting on? Bless me no; I've 
the devil's luck, and my own too. 
When I pay my way I fancy I'm some- 
body else.' 

Devonshire compliment ( W. 
Country ', except Devonshire). Doubtful 
politeness ; e.g., 'Do 'ee 'ave this cup 
o' tea in the pot ; 'full on'y be thrawed 
away ! ' 

Dew o' Ben Nevis (Lond. and 
Edin. Taverns). A fortunate name 
discovered by a Scotch distiller to dis- 
tinguish his whiskey. ' Dew ' was 
poetic, and ' Ben Nevis ' was already 
in thf heart of the Scotch customer. 
The name is now used in place of the 
word whiskey, much like 'Guinness' 
for stout, ' Alsopp ' and ' Burton ' for 

ale, and ' Kinahan ' for Irish whiskey. 
' Twa o' bennevis ' (the ' e ' pronounced 
short) is a common request, always 
complied with in the hard-working 
land o' cakes. 

Dick's hat -band (Peoples', pro- 
vincial). A makeshift. The hat-band 
in general use, even in Mr Weller's 
time of widowhood, was a portentous 
sweep of crape, draped and bowed 
behind. It slipped into a band of 
cloth on the hat, and has now passed 
to the arm as a strip, in imitation of 
the mourning worn by the late Queen's 
servants for the Prince Consort. Who 
was Dick? 'Tis all that remains of 
him. ' What be that, gammer that 
bean't a bonnet?' 'No, bless thee, 
'tis a Dick's hat-band. ' 

Dicky, Dickey (Peoples'). Very 
doubtful ; e.g., ' It's Dickey, ain't it ? ' 
Origin obscure. May refer to Richard 
III. as conquered. A courtier of 
Henry VII. may have started the 
phrase as a flattery to the Conqueror. 

The columbine was less fortunate in his 
opinion. ' She's werry dicky ; ain't got 
what I call " move" about her.' Green- 
wood's Night in a Workhouse. 

Die in a horse's night -cap 
(Thieves'). To die in a halter. Sup- 
posed to be very brilliant satire. 

Die Dunghill (Sporting, 18 cent.). 
Said of a cock that would not fight 
and applied to human curs ; e.g., 
'I never die dunghill always p;ame.' 
In our days the term has changed to 
' die on a dunghill ', meaning the per- 
son spoken of will have no home in 
which to die. 

Diff (Soc.). Abbreviation of 'dif- 
ferences', e.g., 'No it is not I love 
her she loves me. That's the diff.' 

Probably came from the Stock Ex- 
change, the birthplace of so much 
passing English. 

There is a great diff between a dona 
and a mush. You can shut up a mush 
(umbrella) sometimes. Newsp. Cutting. 

Diffs (Theatr.). A euphemistic ab- 
breviation of ' difficulties', cruelly com- 
mon with lessees until the prince, 
about 1870, completely brought the 
theatre into fashion. 

Diffs (Vulgar). Abbreviation of 
' difficulties '. ' For gentlemen in diffi- 
culties arrested in the county of Surrey 
there was a single spunging-house in 
a street somewhere off the Blackfriars 




Road. I remember visiting a friend 
there once, who told me that the 
apartments were extremely comfort- 
able. The sheriffs officer was an ac- 
complished whist player, and he had a 
musical daughter who used to play and 
sing to the gentleman in "diffs".' 
G. A. Sala, Fifa and Ca Sa, in T. D. } 
15th August 1893. 

Dig (Mid. Class, Elegant). Abbrevia- 
tion of 'dignity'; e.g., 'So I stood upon 
my dig, and told him his room was 
nicer than his company.' Sometimes 
1 otium dig ' (from ' otium cum dig- 
nitate ' ; e.g. , * Come and see me in my 
summer-house ; there I am in my 
otium dig.' 

Dig me out (Soc. t 1860). I.e., call 
for me ; tear me from lazy loafing in 
the house. 

Digger (Milit.). The guard-room. 
Short for ' Damned guard-room'. 

Digs. Short for 'diggings'. Austra- 
lian for lodgings, from the time when 
gold miners lived on their claims, or 
diggings. In co tnrnon use by theatrical 
touring companies. 

The strolling 'mummers ' have alighted 
from a cheap excursion train, and are 
imbibing hot whisky and water before 
commencing their chilly exploration of 
the quiet little country town in search of 
'digs'. D. T., 23rd March 1898. 

Dill (Chemists'). A disguised title 
for water no such simple liquor as 
mere water being named before the 
public. ' Dill ' sounds more medicinal 
than dill water. The word is a 
liquidising of 'distilled water'. 

Dilly-dally (Peoples'). Hesitative. 
An equivalent of shilly-shally, both 
generally used as an attack upon the 
spoonery of lovers. Probably rhymed 
from the latter. 

Dimber-damber (Street). Smart, 
active, adroit. One of the alliterative 
phrases with no absolute meaning a 
false onomatope. Namby-pamby and 
nimmeny-pimmeny are on similar lines. 
He is a bit dimber-damber, and up to 
everything on the carpet. Newsp. 

Dime Museum ( Freak Show, applied 
to theatres, 1884). A common show 
poor piece. From New York, which 
has a passion for monstrosity displays, 
called Dime Museums the dime being 
the eighth of a dollar. 

Dimensions, To take (Police). To 
obtain information. 

I said, ' Are you sure ? ' and he said, 
' Yes ; she's been murdered in a railway 
carriage.' At eleven that same night 
Sergeant Cox came to the house and 
took 'dimensions'. Newsp. Cutting. 

Dinah (Com. London). A favourite 
woman; e.g., 'Id Mary your Dinah?' 
Corruption of ' dona '. 

Dipping ( Thieves'). Picking pockets 
literally dipping. 

Mr Selfe : What is meant by 'dipping'? 
The policeman : It's the last new word 
it means picking pockets. Newsp. 

Dirt Road (Amer.). The highway, 
as distinct from the railroad, which is 
gravelled. Probably railway official 

His Honour talked to him in a fatherly 
way, and told him to start for home by the 
dirt road, and David went out. Newsp. 

Dirty Half-Hundred (Milit. O.S.). 
50th Regiment. 

The gallant ' Fiftieth, ' otherwise known 
as the ' Dirty Half -Hundred, ' a regiment 
with a splendid record, retains its title as 
'The Queen's Own', with a local habita- 
tion in West Kent. D. N., July 1881. 

Disagreeable Bore (Soc.). The 
antithesis of Agreeable Rattle. 

Discommons ( University). To boy- 
cott, send to Coventry, exclude. 

A man is supposed, on leaving school 
and going to college, to be learning to 
take care of himself. Except by ' dis- 
cominonsing ' dishonest tradesmen, a 
form of permitted Boycotting which 
might be more widely exerted, we fail to 
see how the Heads of Houses are to make 
extravagant young fellows careful. 
D. N., 20th March 1885. 

Disguised (Soc.). One of the 
numerous evasive synonyms for 
* drunk '. 

Most of Bob Prudhpe's customers are 
noblemen disguised in liquor. Newsp. 

Bob was a very handsome and dashing 
licensed victualler in the ' neck of the 
Strand', between St Mary's and St 
Clement Danes long since demolished. 
Disguised Public-House (Polit., 
1886). Workmen's political clubs. 
First used in the House of Commons ; 
e.g., ' Call it a club if you like this is 
a free country but it's an after 12.30 
p.m. public, and nothing else.' 

Dish (Parliamentary). To over- 
come, to distance figuratively, to pre- 
sent the enemy trussed in a dish, dis- 
played before the conquerors and the 


Dismember for Great Britain 


It is alleged that Liberals have stolen 
a march upon the Conservatives, that 
non-political candidates have turned out 
to be Radicals in disguise, and, in short, 
that the Tories have been dished. 
D. T. 

The Whigs had been dished, to use 
the historic phrase of the great Lord 
Derby. D. T., 20th May 1899. (See 
Dash my Wig.) 

Dismember for Great Britain (Soc. 
1886). The last political nickname 
given to Gladstone. About the time 
of the Home Rule Bill. 

They used to call him the Member for 
Midlothian. Now they call him 'the 
Dismember for Great Britain.' Ref., 
18th April 1886. 

Distinct(ly) (Society, 1880). Thor- 
ough(ly). The use of this word in this 
sense in many cases became a mania. 
'He is a distinct fool.' ' She is a dis- 
tinct fraud.' * They are distinctly in 
the wrong.' 

Ditch, the (Local Lond., 1850). Ab- 
breviation of Shoreditch, one of the 
chief eastern thoroughfares of London. 

The Ditch is the oldest village in 
London. A bloke named Shore hung 
out there once. His missus went wrong 
with a King. When the King snuffed it 
the dona had to walk through the streets 
in her nightgown. She died in a ditch 
did Jane. Hence the name Shoreditch. 
Gutting, 1883. 

A. frequenter of the Ditch is a 

Ditch (Anglo- Amer.). The Atlantic. 
A playful allusion toitsimmense width 
(See Herring Pond.) 

Ditch and Chapel (E.London, street). 
An abbreviation of Shoreditch and of 

You only know me, maties, in Ditch 
parlours and Chapel bagatelle rooms. 
Cutting, 1883. 

Ditched (Anglo- Amer,}. Off the 
highway ; halted. Accepted by the 
States from old coaching days. 

A portion of Doris's Inter - oceanic 
circus was ditched on Friday on the 
Missouri Pacific Railroad, near Boone- 
ville, Mo. Newsp. Gutting. 

Now figuratively used ; e.g., 1 1 was 
ditched completely, and did not know 
what to say.' 

Ditto, Brother Smut (Peoples'). 
Your tongue is as coarse as you say 
mine is. Probably from chimney- 

Dive (Amer. Eng.). An underground 
drinkingbar. Reached England through 

Liverpool from 'diving under to reach 
it'. Equivalent to the lost London 
word ' Shades' from the underground 
darkness of these resorts. The last 
' shades ' were in Leicester Square. 
The first dive is scarcely more than a 
gun-shot away in Piccadilly. 

In many places (U.S.A.), especially in 
the cities, the existence of the law makes 
no real difference ; in some few, by fits 
and starts, it is rigidly enforced, and 
the consequence is that the drinking is 
driven underground, into what they 
variously call ' dives ', ' speak easies ', and 
' kitchen bar room ' in the North ; and 
' blind pigs ' and ' blind tigers ' in the 
South. The liquor sold deteriorates at 
the same time. Little but spirits is dealt 
in, and much of it is of the vilest quality. 
G. A. Sala, D. T., 25th October 1893. 

A grand entrance takes the place of 
the tavern, which is relegated to ' down 
below,' and is called a 'dive'. Ref., 10th 
May 1885. 

Diver (Thieves'). A pickpocket 
obviously from diving the hand down 
into others' pockets. 

Divine punishment (Naval). Divine 

Jack has little faith, and does not 
know, perhaps cares little, what to 
believe ; and as to worship, it has long 
been known in the forecastle as ' divine 
punishment '. Newsp. Gutting, 1869. 

Diviners, or Dimers(0xfprd Univ.). 
Reduction in Oxford ' er ' of the Divin- 
ity Examination, which replaced the 
Rudiments of Faith and Religion. 

Dixie (Polit. Amer.). The pet name 
given to the South, or Dixie-land. A 
popular negro song went, * I wish I was 
in Dixie', that is to say, ' In heaven'. 

Dizzy Age (Soc. of a kind, 19 cent.). 
Elderly. Makes the spectator giddy 
to think of the victim's years gene- 
rally those of a maiden or other woman 
canvassed by other maiden ladies or 
others, e.g., ' Poor dear ; but though 
she is really very well, especially at a 
distance, on a dull day, she must be, 
the dove, quite a dizzy age.' 

Dizzy flat (Chicago). A fool whose 
foolery makes the hearer giddy. 

Do (Peoples'). In one capacity, as a 
neuter verb, praiseful, as ' He'll do'. 
Convert it into an active verb, ' He'll 
do you', and it becomes the most em- 
phatic possible warning against a cheat. 
Rare instance of one word serving two 
distinctly opposite purposes. To 'do', 
as meaning to fight and conquer, has 



Do Oneself Well 

quite passed into common English life. 
' I got done in three rounds ', simply 
means that the speaker cried V(K metis 
after he had been grounded for the 
third time. A serio-comic singer, Bessie 
Bellwood, turned this word to great 
account while singing a song as a girl 
who boasts of her prowess, saying 
' Yoho, you come down our court. If 
I can't do yer, me and my sister 
Jemima 'ull do yer proper,' proper in 
this case meaning completely. 

Finally, this (the emphatic auxiliary 
verb of the eight auxiliary verbs) is 
used to describe murder. 

Her ladyship replied : ' The two men 
have been trying to do for me.' Lady 
Florence Dixie, concerning an armed 
attack upon her, 1883. 

Quite classic in the criminal division 
of Irish society, and is even used to ex- 
press hanging by law. 

' What sort of a do did Walsh get?' 
Asked by Patrick Joyce, the principal 
assassin in an agrarian outrage, when 
almost a whole family were swept away 
(Nov. 1882). He asked this question 
of a jailer immediately after he had 
been condemned to death. Walsh had 
some time previously been hanged at 

Arthur Chewster, of Boston, U.S., was 
committed for trial from the West Ham 
Police Court on Saturday for severely 
wounding a labourer at Walthamstow 
with a bowie-knife. The prisoner in- 
formed the police that he was an Irish- 
American, and meant 'to do ' for all 
Englishmen. Globe, 5th October 1885. 

In Lancashire is used to express suf- 
fering ; e.g., ' I've had a severe do this 
time bronchitis, three weeks in bed.' 
Amongst thieves to * do ' is to serve 
a term of imprisonment. 

In middle-class life 'do' represents 
a joke, as, ' What a do ! ' 

Chiefly applied to cheating, as ' I 
was done Brown' that is, completely 

Carlyle's favourite Cockney, who 
affirmed that every lottery had ' a do at 
the bottom of it', would find his rather 
cynical view of the gambling world 
strengthened by a case heard at the 
Guildhall Police Court. Z>. JV., 25th 
May 1885. 

Judge : Will you speak to what you 
know of the morality of Mr Doulton ? 
Well, I will only say that he has ' done ' 
me out of my money. (The word 'done' 
aroused the curiosity of the C ourt, and 


the witness said, emphatically, 'Well, 
then, robbed me of my money.' Newsp. 

Do again (Navy). Contemptuous 
reference to some one who never 
achieved much. Generally applied to 
marines, who, being neither enrolled 
sailors nor soldiers, are the ' buffers of 
both, and get pressed hard'. 

' Pick him up and pipeclay him and 
he'll do again.' Newsp. Gutting. 

Do a bunk (Public School). To re- 
tire with precaution. 

Do a bust (Thieves'). To burst a 
house open ; burglary. 

Eedfern and his mate told him they 
were 'going to do a bust', meaning a 
robbery. D. T., 14th December 1897. 

Do a Dutch (prob. Amer. Knicker- 
bocker). To remove one's furniture 
without the preliminary of paying the 
rent due. 

The Spitkinses did a Dutch with all 
their stock just before quarter-day. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Do a moan (Navy). To growl. 
Moans are of frequent occurrence. 

Do a smile (Amer., 1860 on). To 
take a drink. Now rarely heard. 

Do a stamp (Amer., passing to Eng- 
land). To go for a walk. 

Do him a treat (Pugilistic). To give 
him a thrashing. 

' He's a gee-gee of another colour. 
Whoa, my rorty pals, he's a hot 'un, 
though some of you can do him a treat 
when he gets a trifle cheeky/ Cutting. 

Do in (Sport, 1886 on). To adven- 
ture, bet, plank down, etc. 

I am utterly unable to understand the 
unhealthy state of mind of a young 
fellow of one or two and twenty who in 
little more than a twelvemonth loses 
between three and four hundred 
thousand pounds, and who now rushes 
to 'do in ' every spare fiver or tenner 
that comes into his possession. Ref., 
19th May 1889. 

Do one's bit ( Thieves'). To carry out 
one's enforced contract as a felon with 
the Government. 

It is not easy to persuade a wealthy 
employer who can buy what labour he 
requires in the cheapest and best market 
to take a man who has ' done his bit' in a 
correctional institution. Neicsp. Cutting. 

Do oneself well (Colloquial, 1881). 
To make an effort to succeed in life. 

He was heard to remark to the lady of 
the house, in confidence, that this was 
what he appreciated, that he adored 

Do over for 

Dr Jim 

domesticity and 46, and that he intended 
to do himself well. Newsp. Cutting, 
3rd February 1883. 

Do over for (Low London). To ex- 
tract money by flattery or threats. 

When they comes back, Selby says to 
me, ' All J could do him over for was a 
couple of bob.' People, 6th January 1895. 

Do the aqua (Public-house}. To put 
in the water, as ' Jo, do the aqua ', and 
Joe pours the water into the held-out 
glass, observing ' Say when !' ' When', 
says the other at the point he con- 
siders the dilution absolute. 

Do the graceful (Peoples'). A para- 
phrase: to fascinate, to charm by 
elegance of attention or behaviour. 

On Saturday last, on the occasion of 
the 300th performance of lolanthe, D'Oyly 
Carte did the graceful by presenting 
every lady visitor with a choice bouquet. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Do to rights (Lower Classes). To 
effect perfectly ; achieve quite satis- 
factorily. Has shades of meaning. 
' Did me to rights.' May be said eulo- 
gistically of a meal. ' I'll do you to 
rights ' may be a promise of high de- 
light, but it may mean, when addressed 
to a man, that the addressee will be 
thrashed awfully by the speaker. 

Do ut Des (Soc., 1883). Selfish 
people whose philosophy is ' I give ' 
that thou ' mayest give '. 

THE ' Do UT DBS ' AT HOME : Since the 
time of Bismarck's famous 'do ut des' 
policy, we have known that the statesmen 
of the Fatherland are not inclined to 
give favours for nothing. D. T., 29th 
December 1900. (See Doddies.) 

Do yer feel like that? (Lower 
Classes). Addressed to a person gener- 
ally lazy who is being industrious, or 
who is doing some unusual work. Used 

Do you know? (Peoples'). The 
history of this initial phrase is very 
odd. 'it was first heard in the East of 
London, used by a popular preacher 
who often preached colloquially in the 
streets, and whose voice had very droll 
chan ges in it. The phrase spread (1883) 
over the East district, and reached 
the West towards the end of the year. 
It became public early in 1884 through 
its adoption by Mr Beerbohm Tree, in 
The Private Secretary. The piece was 
soon removed to the Globe when Mr 
Tree's part was taken by Mr Penley, 
who made the phrase more marked 

still throughout the year. It helped 
to make the piece popular. The oddity 
of the phrase was got out of its strange 
musical character.. 

The ' Do ' was used short, as a grace 
note. Then followed the ' you ' a third 
higher, and held about an ordinary 
crotchet's length. The 'know' was 
then taken a sixth below the 'you'. 
The whole had a most droll effect. Mr 
Penley began on the middle A, rose to 
C, and fell to E. The phrase was in 
common use in all stages of society. 
It went to America. 

The Secretary has little more to say 
than ' Do you know', which is delivered 
in amazingly sepulchral tones, and which 
is likely to become a ' gag ' expression on 
the street.^. Y. Mercury, 1884. 

Do you savey ? (Naif -society, 1840). 
Mongrel French Savez-vous? 

' All right I shall savey in a minute. ' 

' I couldn't savey that in a month.' 

Do you to Wain -rights (Lower 
classes, c. 1874). Intensification of 
' Do you to rights,' by introduction of 
the name of a more than usually notori- 
ous murderer, one Wainwright. (See 
Wainwright you.) The phrase was 
used by men to women, meaning a 
threat of murder, sometimes used quite 
earnestly. Wainwright had killed a 
mistress who troubled him very much. 
Phrase still heard in East London, 
where the crime was committed. 

Doc (Amer. ). Short for doctor. 

1 Now, doc, I want you to tell me the 
worst. Is she dangerous?' The doc 
said it was not his nature unnecessarily to 
frighten any one, but he said doctors 
often had a duty to perform that they 
would prefer to transfer to other 
shoulders. Newsp. Cutting. 

Doctor Brighton (Soc., 19 cent.). 
Brighton : said to be the invention of 
George IV. ; one of his few small 

'Doctor Brighton' is the prince of 
fashionable physicians, and does not dose 
his patients with nasty physic. The 
'Doctor' has a pleasant face and an 
agreeable manner at all times. D. T., 
13th August 1885. 

Dr Jim (Peoples', 1896). A soft felt 
hat, with wide brim. When soft felt hats 
began (1895) to overcome the eternal 
hard black or brown 'uu bowler, they 
obtained several names of little account, 
the quotation of which was more hon- 
oured in the breach than the observance. 


Do Without 

Doing the Bear 

Upon the arrival, late in 1896, of Dr 
Jameson from the Transvaal, the wide 
rim of his soft Africander felt was at 
once accepted. For some weeks these 
models were called Jemmysons, but 
the hero in question becoming more 
popular as Dr Jim, the wide soft felter 
became a Dr Jim very soon reduced to 
Jimmunt, sometimes a Jimkwim the 
outcome of a coalescing between the 
earlier and later titles. 

Do without (Yorkshire). To dis- 
like. A Yorkshire man is generally 
too cautious to say he hates a man. 
He circumambulates, and says, 'Eh, 
ah could do wi'out him.' (See Nice 
place to live out of. ) 

Dod rabbit it (Amer.). In Charles 
II. 's time it was God rebate (assuage) 
it. This passed finally in England 
into 'Od rabbit it'. Going over to 
America the phrase was there further 

Doddies (Peoples') Corruption of 
Do ut des ; reduction of Doddies-man ; 
e.g., 'E's a doddies give a sprat to 
catch a herring any day in the week, 
and any hour.' 

Dodo (Amer., beginning to be 
known in England). A human fossil, 
a man who clings to the past, and con- 
demns future days and present a 
ganache, to use a French term. 

Dodo (Press, 1885). Scotland Yard 
figuratively to express that the metro- 
politan police were fossil in their 

The old dodo at Scotland Yard, roused 

into a state of feverish activity by the 
comments of the press and the public on 
the failure of Monday, yesterday con- 
verted itself by a tremendous effort into 
a gigantic turkey-cock, or, to use the 
much more expressive Scotch word, a 
great bubbly-jock which strutted and 
rattled and stamped and made its 
guttural gobble all over the metropolis 
yesterday, with the most alarming result. 
Pall Mall Gaz., llth February 1886. 

Dodrottedest (Amer., 1883). An 
example of evasive swearing. 

The Apaches war well mounted, and I 
recko'nized the leader as a feller they 
called Chief Billy, the dodrottedest thief 
and cut-throat that ever pestered a com- 
munity. Newsp. Gutting. 

Doesn't give much away (Peoples', 

80). Yields few or no advantages 
seizes all chances. Very cogent, and 
full of folk-keenness. 


Edgar, who doesn't give much away, 
arranges to have Rayne drugged with a 
wonderful potion, two drops of which will 
make a man silly for the time being. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Dog (Peoples'). Clever, cheery, 
hearty fellow age not considered. 
Derived from the active, cheerful 
nature of dogs in general. 

An Irishman has always been ' a dog 
at a ballad', as a Shakespearian character 
(oddly anticipating modern slang) calls 
himself 'a dog at a catch'. D. N. 

Dog-cheap (Peoples'). Very cheap. 
Who or what was the dog ? Certainly 
not canine, for the word would not be 
apposite cat-cheap would be nearer 
the mark. Probably a pedlar, whose 
name might be Diggory, abbreviation 
to dig, and thence dog ' I bought it 
dog-cheap'. Johnson, who was cruelly 
puzzled by some of the compounds in 
'dog', says, 'dog and cheap cheap 
as dog's meat; cheap as the offal 
bought for dogs.' Dryden uses the 
word 'Good store of harlots, say 
you ? and dog-cheap ? ' 

Dog -gone (Peoples'). Devoted ; 
from the pertinacious devotion of the 
doggie. In U.S.A. it is an evasion of 
' God damn '. 

Dog my cats (Amer.). An example 
of concealed swearing God damn my 

Dog my cats if she didn't make a nest 
of it and set three weeks on the buttons ! 
Newsp. Gutting. 

Dog's legs (Soldiers'). The chevron, 
designating non - commissioned rank, 
worn on the arm, and not unlike in 
outline to the canine hindleg. 

Doggie (Milit., 1850). Officer's 
servant, especially cavalry. The in- 
crease of education amongst the men 
has swept the term away. Men were 
proud of it iu times when officers and 
their servants were more familiar than 
at present. 

Doggie (London Youths'). All-round 
upright collar. (See Sepulchres, 
Poultice, Shakespeare navels. ) 

Doing (Peoples'). A thrashing ; e.g. , 
' I'll give 'im a doin' which 'e won't 
see out of 'i* eyes for a fair week after 
I've done 'im over.' 

' I've had a bad doing this week 
lost thirty quid.' 

Doing the bear (Span.- Amer., pass- 
ing over U.S.). Courting which in- 
volves hugging. 


Don't Seem 

Courtship is carried on in a most extra- 
ordinary manner in Mexico. The part a 
man plays in a courtship is called ' doing 
the bear', which is a translation of 
'hacer el oso'. It is quite a common 
expression in Mexico to say : 'I am doing 
the bear to Miss So-and-so ' ; or for the 
girl to say : ' That young man is doing 
the bear to me.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Dol (Peoples'). Abbreviation of 

Dollars to buttons (Anglo- Amer.). 
A sure bet. 

' She has got to put those clothes on, 
and she feels that it is dollars to buttons 
that when she picks up an under-garment 
from the floor by the table leg, that she 
will be blown through the roof.' Newsp. 

(See Million to a bit of dirt.) 

Dolly mop (Peoples'). An over- 
dressed servant girl. Probably a form 
of Dollabella and Mopsa, both names 
used in 18th century for weak, over- 
dre*sed, slovenly women. 

Dolly worship (Nonconformist). The 
Roman Catholic religion. From the 
use of statues, etc. 

Dominoes (Tavern). The teeth, 
when bad and yellow. When white, 
they are ivories. 

Don Caesar spouting (Soc., 1850 
on). Haughty public elocution 
espesially after dinner. Probably a 
satirical combination of ' the Don ' a 
memory of Mary Tudor's husband, and 

Dona Highland Flingers (Rhyming 
Music Hall Singers). One of the 
names of the serio-comic generally 
one who sings or flings high notes 
hence the term. ' Many a dona High- 
land Flinger gets nailed when she 
thinks .she marries a toff, and finds 
out that he's a bad egg. 

Dona Jack (Lower Glasses). Lowest 
description of Jack man who lives on 
the dona, a man who preys upon men 
of all designations. 

Done (Texas). Completely. Done 
is the commonest of adjectives ; e.g., 
1 We are done tired ' ; 

' The kitchen is done swept ' ; 
' The baby is done woke up.' 

Done Fairly (Sporting, 1860). Com- 
pletely cheated. 

Fairlie has taken the Novelty Theatre. 
Let's hope that nobody will be able to 
say he's done Fairlie. Cutting. 

Donkey's breakfast (London, 1893 
on). A man's straw hat. Satiric 

reference a protest against the then 
new fashion, with suggestion as to the 
wearer. Died out as the century wore 
to an end. ' Which when a gent puts 
a donkey's breakfast a-top of his nut 
he wants jollying.' It took several 
years for the streets to accept the 
straw hat. Even now it is far from 

Donny brook (Anglo-Irish). Riot, 
disturbance, down to a shrew's 
squabble. Applied in a thousand 
ways. On 19th February 1900 the 
Daily Telegraph had a paragraph about 
a number of torpedo-boat destroyers, 
one of which broke away in harbour 
from her moorings, and did much mis- 
chief. This par was headed ' The 
Destroyers' Donny brook '. 

From the historical conviction that 
Donnybrook Fair (Ireland) is all noise. 

Don't be a chump (E. London, 
1889). Do not lose your temper. 
Derived probably from the act of 
fixing the teeth in passion as though 
chumping that is, biting hard. 

Don't care a Pall Mall (Club, 1885). 
A synonym for a damn. In July 1885 
the Pall Mall Gazette gained wide 
notoriety by the publication of articles 
entitled The Maiden Tribute'. Hence 
the phrase, ' He may say what he likes ; 
I don't care a Pall Mall.' 

Don't dynamite (Peoples', 1883). 
Avoid anger. Result of the Irish 
pranks in Great Bdtain with this ex- 
plosive. Their chief result was to add 
a word to the army of phrases. 

Don't know who's which from 
when's what! (Street, 1897). Total 
sentence of stupidity. Speaks for 

Don't lose your hair (Peoples', 19 
cent.). Don't lose your temper. Came 
in when wigs went out, and replaced 
'dash my wig'. From the tendency 
to tear the hair in a rage, or, at all 
events, to seize it. (See Keep your 
hair on. ) 

Don't mention that (Common Lon- 
don, 1882). A catch word which pre- 
vailed for some time in consequence of 
Mr Baron Huddleston's frequent use 
of the phrase during the endless hear- 
ing (for over forty days) of a libel case 
between sculptors Belt v. Lawes. 

Don't seem ( Colloquial). Equivalent 
to 'incapable of ' ; e.g., 'I don't seem 
to see it, my dear fellow ; where does 
the advantage come in ? ' 


Don't sell me a Dog 


Don't sell me a dog (Soc., 1860). 
Do not deceive me. Derived from the 
experience that the purchase of a dog, 
most fanciers being thieves, was ever a 
deception. Very popular until 1870. 

Don't think, I (Mid. Class, 1880). 
Emphatically meaning cfo think ; e.g., 

' So you've nailed my young woman- 
well that's a nice thin job, I don't think ' 
simply because he's quite sure of it. 

Don't turn that side to London 

(Peoples'). Condemnation of any kind 
of a patched coat or boots, the worst 
side of a joint of meat, some injury to 
the body, etc., etc. From the supposi- 
tion that everything of the best is 
required in the metropolis. (See Turn 
the best side to London.) 

Doogheno (London, Back, lucent.}. 
This is a remarkably complicated speci- 
men. It is composed of ' good ' back- 
wards, the letter ' h ' to prevent the 
softening of the ' g' when brought next 
an ' e '. ' Eno ' is of course ' one '. 

It can't be denied that Booth has 
made a doogheno hit, and you ought to 
nark his bucket. (1882.) 

Edwin Booth was an American actor 
who (1881-82) obtained considerable 
success in London in Shakespearian 

If a chap happens to be a dab tros he 
gets on better than a doogheno who 
keeps himself quiet and never lets any- 
body Tommy Tripe know how clever he 
is. Cutting. 

Dook (Peoples'}. A huge nose. Cor- 
ruption of ' duke,' and referring to the 
1 Duke ' time of Wellington, who 
during the first half of the 19th cen- 
tury was, with intervals of unpopu- 
larity, styled 'the duke'. His Grace's 
high nose was hereditary. The title 
became shortened to this one word, and 
his nose beiug so exceptional, the title 
of the owner came by metaphor to 
represent a huge nose. To this day it 
ia u*ed. (See Boko.) 

Dookin ( Thieves'). Fortune-telling. 
Sixpenny horoscopes in by-ways and 
cast upon the lines of the palm of the 
baud, the left, that being nearest the 
heart. Hence the word dook, dookes, 
being ancient slang for hand ; generally 
used in plural. 'Put up yer dooks.' 
' Dookin ' has new become fashionable, 
and is called palmistry. Where all the 
hand is concerned (this in telling char- 
acter), the term is chiromancy. 

Door and hinge (Lond., Peoples'). 
Neck and breast of mutton, a joint 
which bends readily amongst the cer- 
vical vertebrae. Very graphic and 
humorsome. (See Stickings, Hyde 
Park Railings.) 

Door-knocker (Peoples', 1854). A 
ring-shaped beard formed by the cheeks 
and chin being shaved leaving a chain 
of hair under the chin, and upon each 
side of mouth forming with moustache 
something like a door-knocker. 

Charles Dickens had a moustache and 
a door-knocker beard. E. Yates, Recol- 
lections, vol. i., p. 256. 

Door-mat (Colloquial, 1856). The 
name given by the people to the heavy 
and unaccustomed beards which the 
Crimean heroes brought home from 
Russia in 1855-56, and which started 
the beard movement, much to the 
astonishment of French excursionists. 
By 1882 the term came to be applied 
to the moustache only, probably be- 
cause about this time the tendency to 
shave the beard and wear only a very 
heavy moustache became prevalent. 

While writing, a pal comes in and tells 
me that the City peelers are to be 
allowed to grow doormats. Cutting. 

The Corporation of London, always 
very conservative, only allowed the 
City police to wear moustaches in 1882. 

He was a little joker with a red 
smeller and a small red doormat over 
his kisser. Cutting. 

Doormat (Common Lond., 1880). 
Victory (see Grease - spot), meaning 
that the enemy was overcome, and so 
fallen that the victor wiped his feet 
upon the conquered Vae Victis ! 

I guess that chucker-out won't hit me 
any more. I made a doormat of him. 
Cutting (1883). 

Doping (Hoeing, 1900). Hocussing 
rather than poisoning racehorses when 
about to run. In 1899-1900 large sums 
of money had been made by American 
betting-men at English race meetings. 
Gradually the conviction gained groun d 
that runner were being tampered, with 
in new and dangerous ways, resulting 
in more than temporary injury to the 
horses. Especially in the U.S.A. it 
was remarkable how frequently racers 
either died at or shortly after a race, 
or that they so went back that they 
were never raced again. In the U.S.A. 
the term used for the exercise of this 



Down the Road 

nefarious usage of horses was called 
' doping' said to be derived from a 
proper name. The term came to be 
heard in England in the summer of 
1900. In November of this year the 
Animals' Aid Society held a weakly 
organised meeting to devise means to 
meet these fraudulent practices. But 
it turned out that nobody present knew 
anything at all about the matter. 

Dorothy (Soc., 1888). Rustic love- 
making. From the mode of an opera- 
comique of this name (1887-88). 

Those (letters) of the defendant were 
of the most amatory character, contain- 
ing repeated promises, in Dorothy style, 
to be true to the plaintiff. D. N. t 7th 
July 1888. 

Dorsay (Soc., 1830-45). Perfect. 
Count d'Orsay, of an old French family, 
led the fashion generally during these 
years ; so much so that it was the 
highest praise to say he was a dorsay. 

Dose of Locust (N. fork Police- 
men's). A beating with fists. 

Mullaley, smarting under the pain of 
the wound, gave Mr Supple a dose of 
locust, which induced him to accompany 
the officer to court. Newsp. Cutting. 

Dossy (Street). Elegant. Probably 
from Count d'Orsay (q.v.). 

Dot and carry one (Street). Person 
with a wooden leg. 

The 'dot 'is the pegged impression 
made by all wooden legs before the 
invention of the modelled foot and 
calf. The ' one ' is the widowed leg. 

Dotted (Tavern, 19 cent.). Black- 
eyed. To 'dot' a gentleman is to 
punctuate him emphatically with a 
black -eye. 

The chucker-out he dotted, 
He got so blooming tight. 


Dotties Man (Peoples'). Greedy, 
grasping giving a sprat to catch a 

Double-breasted water-butt 
smasher (Street). A man of fine bust 
an athlete. 

The Bobby said that Joey Fanatty 
(aged), described on the charge-sheet as 
the double-breasted water-butt smasher, 
was charged with a salt. Newsp. Cutting. 

Double intenders (Peoples'). Knock- 
down blows labial or fistful. 

Double-plated blow-hard (A mer.). 
A loud aud contemptible boaster. 

They went away believing I was an old 
liar and a double-plated blow-hard, and 

in a week no one would stop here. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Double Scoop (Military, 1890). 
Hair parted in centre, and worn low 
gave way to the quitf. 

Dough-nut (Amer. passing to Eng- 
land). A baker, especially the German 

' Shut up, thou dough nut, or thy last 
moment may be thy next.' Cutting. 

Probably from the too frequent pale, 
flabby, doughy face of this sickly 

Dover Castle boarder (Prison; 
Debtors'}. A circumscribed district 
around the Quen's Bench prison 
(South wark Bridge Road), pulled down 
in 1881, was called the ' rules of the 
Bench'. Certain debtors, not im- 
prisoned in the Bench itself, were com- 
pelled to sleep in this district, and they 
were thus called because the most 
prominent tavern in the neighbourhood 
was styled 'The Dover Castle' much 
frequented by these poor debtors, who 
were therefore called ' boarders '. The 
house still exists. It was not a stone's- 
throw from the prison. 

Down the banks (Irish colloquial). 
Failed; e.g., 'I got down the banks 
for my pains' meaning I failed only 
as a result. Probably the outcome of 
life amongst the bogs, which are scored 
with deep ditches, as the peat is cut 
perpendicularly. The water at the 
foot of the banks is frequently quite 
deep, often enough to go over a man's 

Down the Lane and into the Mo 
(Central London, Low). Here the 
Lane is that called Drury ; the 'Mo' 
is abbreviated ' Mogul Music Hall ' 
(established 1850), and afterwards 
baptized The Middlesex. But the 
Lane clung to ' Mo ' probably a name 
given to the place generations since, 
when a public garden there was kept 
by some wonderful Indian. 

What was the good, thought we, of 
saving your rhino, if you've got no girl 
to take for trots down the Lane or into 
the Mo. Cutting, 1883. 

Down the Road (E. London Streets). 
Showy, flashy. The road is the Mile End 
Road, which to frequent on a Sunday, 
in a good cart or ' shay', is the ambition 
of every costermonger and small trader 
in that district. 


Down to the Ground 


Down to the ground (Peoples'). 
Completely from head to heels. 

The character suits Rignold ' down to 
the ground '. Newsp. Gutting. 

Drag (Theat.) Petticoat or skirt 
used by actors when playing female 
parts. Derived from the drag of the 
dress, as distinct from the non-draggi- 
ness of the trouser. 

Mrs Sheppard is now played by a man 
Mr Charles Steyne, to wit. I don't 
like to see low corns, in drag parts, but 
must confess that Mr Steyne is really 
droll, without being at all vulgar. Ref., 
24th July 1887. 

Also given to feminine clothing by 
eccentric youths when dressing up in 

Drag-on (Cornish}. Opprobrious 
distinction conferred on the men of 
Helston by their Cornish neighbours 
especially the nearest. 

A neighbourly legend of Helston 
formerly Hellstone in Cornwall, says 
that the borough was dropped from the 
clouds by the Evil One in the course of a 
provincial tour over the western county. 
To this moment, 1 understand, it is a 
deadly affront to call a Helston man a 
4 dragon '.D. T., 20th August 1896. 

Drapery Miss (Com. Class). A girl 
of doubtful character, who dresses in a 
striking manner. Libellous generally. 
Degenerated from the time of Byron, 
who says in a note to st. 49 ca. xi. of 
Don Juan: 

' Drapery Misses ' : This term is pro- 
bably anything now but a mystery. It 
was, however, almost so to me, when I 
first returned from the East, in 1811-12. 
It means a pretty, a high-born, a fashion- 
able young female, well instructed by her 
friends, and furnished by her milliner 
with a wardrobe upon credit, to be 
repaid, when married, by her husband. 

Drasacking (Devon.) Draw-sacking 
idle, slow, dragging. 

' Drasacking ' is a common and cheap 
pastime, consisting of an aimless, point- 
less, shambling sauntering. The ' dra- 
sacking ' householder, while an absolute 
tortoise himself, believes that a wise and 
just dispensation intended his servant- 
girl or hired man to be a hare. D. T., 
19th October 1895. 

Draw iron (Amer.}. To present a 

If every person who fancied himself 
aggrieved by his cabman were to ' draw 
iron ', the nature of the cabman's shelter 
would have to be altered and made to 
correspond with the iron huts familiar to 
Irish police. Newsp. Gutting. 


Draw the Badger. (See Badger.) 

Draw the dibs (Bootmakers 1 }. To 
take wages dibs being a trade term 
for money. Dibs are small nails, hence 

Draw the line at tick (Sena- 
comics'). A euphemism for declaration 
of virtue on the part of a serio-comic 
lady singer. ' I may sing a hot line 
or two, or take a present here or there, 
but I draw the line at tick,' the mate- 
rial in question being not a scheme of 
credit or ' tick ', but a covered allusion 
to the textile fabric used for the cover- 
ing of beds and mattresses. 

Dree his weird (Lanes.). To bear 
trouble sadly. 

Little do the unthinking youths who 
nowadays assemble at a wedding to 

* guy ' the ' best man ' suspect that a 
generation ago a victim of this descrip- 
tion would not have had to 'dree his 
weird ' alone. His weird would have 
been dreed conjointly with him by a 

second best ', a third best, down some- 
times in a descending scale of excellence 
to an eighth best man. D. T., 3rd 
September 1895. 

Dress for the part (Society drawn 
from Theatre, 1870). To act hypo- 

The only two authors of real celebrity 
whom I can remember as having looked 
' like themselves ' I mean their books 
were Douglas Jerrold and Alexandre 
Dumas the Elder. Sham celebrities, on 
the other hand, ' dress for the part ', and 
contrive to look that which they are, 
really, not. G. A. Sala, in III. Lond. 
News, 16th December 1882. 

Dressed up to the nines (Com. 
London). A eulogistic or sarcastic ex- 
pression of opinion as to another's 
dress according as the accent and 
manner of the speaker go. Corruption 
of 'Dressed to the eyen '. When 'eyen' 
(pi. of ' eye ') was departing English, 
an 's' was added to give 'eye' a 
modern plural while the knowledge of 
' eyen' remained. After a time ' eyen ' 
lost its meaning, and the old plural was 
colloqualized into a comprehensive ex- 
pression, and 'nines' followed. Con- 
currently, the expression 'dressed to 
the nines' took form, and is still used. 

Drilling ( Workpeoples'}. Punishment 
by way of waiting, applied to needle- 
women who make errors in their work. 

There is a common punishment in 
these sweating warehouses when work is 
wrongly done. It is termed ' drilling '. 


Drunk as a Polony 

The woman could not, it seems, be suffi- 
ciently ' drilled ' by merely being sent 
home to undo the work and do it again. 
She must be taught to be more careful 
by punishment a little more drastic than 
that, and accordingly she was told her 
bundle would be sent down to her, and 
till it came she must wait. ' The woman 
stood there expecting the parcel every 
minute for three days.' D. N., 26th 
February 1885. (See Sweater. ) 

Drinkitite (Peoples': East London). 
Thirst. The struggling populace, who 
chiefly joke (when they joke apart from 
abuse) over their struggles, having dis- 
covered ' bite-etite ' as a jocose conver- 
sion of appetite came naturally to give 
it a correlative in ' drinkitke '. There 
is also grim satire in the application of 
the last syllable, which is the common 
word for 'drunk', hence 'drinkitite' 
as a pendent to ' bite-etite ' is positively 
perfect. An East London gentleman 
gently referring to his continued liba- 
tions would evasively but emphatically 
observe : ' I've been on the drinkitite 
right through the week.' 

Driving 1 at (Peoples'). Energetic 
acti< >n. Good example of phrase coming 
out of general characteristic vigour of 
the race. ' He must be driving at 
something.' Even the word drive, 
without the progressive 'ing' or the 
emphatic 'at', is a perfect English 

Drop (Amer.-Eng.). To cause to 

About two minutes after he had the 
revolver his body was swung a little on 
one side, when I pointed my revolver 
and fired where I thought I could drop 
him. D. N., 5th September 1884. 

Self-defence of a burglar named 
Wright. Also, to understand. 

' Ah ? ' sobbed the girl, ' you do not 
drop.' Newsp. Cutting. 

Drop (Society and Sporting, 1850). 
To lose (money). A racing man or 
society man who fails to win money on 
a race never loses it he always drops 
it; e.g., ' I dropped awfully on the 

Drop (Thieves'). The modern gal- 
lows. A very significant word to 
describe modern capital punishment. 
At Tyburn tree the man stood in the 
cart, which was drawn from under 
him. Afterwards, at Newgate, the suf- 
ferer was pulled up. But when some 
genius invented the falling flap, which 

dropped from under the feet of the 
victim, the significance of the word 
became evident. 

Drop the cue (Billiard - players'). 
To die. 

Drouthy (Scotch). Wavering per- 
son ; one of no settled will. 

Leading citizens were occupied the 
greater part of the night before the 
polling-day watching doubtfuls, known 
locally as ' drouthies ' ; every voter was 
pledged ; not a few were ' nursed ' ; the 
halt, the blind, and the deaf were 
escorted to the polling-booth. D. N., 
27th October 1884. 

Drum ( Thieves', 1 860). A house. 

Close to the gardens the prisoner said 
'What do you think of those ''drums" 
there ? ' and witness said, ' I don't think 
much of them.' felon's Queen's JUvidence. 

Drum is not usually applied to a 
respectable quaker-like house, but to 
any one frequented by, say, soldiers. 
Fielding uses this word in Tom Jones, 
Bk. xvii., ch. 6. 

Drum (Thieves'). A cell precisely 
because a drum is an enclosure. 

Drunk as a lord (Streets). Very 
intoxicated. Descent from 18th cen- 
tury middle-class when drunkenness 
was honourable. 

' Drunk as a lord ' and ' Sober as a 
judge ' have ceased to have any recognis- 
able application to the nobility and the 
Judicial Bench. Judges, in these later 
days, are as sober as other folk, take 
them as a class, no more and no less, 
and the same applies to the Peerage. 
D. T., 27th May 1888. 

Drunk as Floey (Peoples'). Who it 
appears was dead drunk may be a cor- 
ruption of Flora, but probably a con- 
fusion between that comparatively 
familiar name and 'Chloe'. If the 
latter, good instance of the power Swift 
had to popularize. In the dean's poems 
Chloe is always more or less under the 
influence of drink. 

Drunk as a polony (Lond.). At 
first sight this expression might be 
accepted as very literal, seeing that a 
sausage cannot stand, and that a 
polony (corruption of Bologna cele- 
brated for its sausages) exists under 
the same conditions. But it is more 
probably one of frequent but obscure 
expressions derived from the French, 
who to this day say : ' Soul comme un 
Pol-nnais' this probably took its 
origin in reference to Maurice Mai echal 
de Saxe, who, in his drinks, was more 




Polish than French. On the other 
hand, the Pole, for drinking com- 
parisons, has long held in France the 
position maintained in England by the 
cobbler ' drunk as a cobbler'. 

Druriolanus (Theat., 1885). 
Drury Lane Theatre. Playful outcome 
of calling Mr Augustus Harris, after- 
wards Sir Augustus Harris, the 
Emperor Augustus. The word also 
suggests that other directorial person- 
age, Coriolanus. 

The vast stage of Her Majesty's is not 
a whit less advantageous for the display 
of its spectacular effects than that of the 
house which gives to Mr Harris's tele- 
graphic address of ' Druriolanus ' its 
special fitness and significance. D. N., 
12th October 1886. 

Augustus Druriolanus is their presi- 
dent, and they are going to bring off a 
four-oared race from Barnes to Hammer- 
smith on October 31. Ref., October 1886. 

Dry Bobs (Eton). A cricketer. 
(See Wet Bobs.) 

Dry canteen (Milit.). (See Wet 
canteen. ) 

Dry guillotine (Franco English). 
Severe imprisonment. From the penal 
French colony at Cayenne, a fearful 

Cayenne is so malarious that trans- 
portation thither used to be styled the 
dry guillotine. Graphic, 1st November 

Dry land (Rhyming}. To under- 

Whenever you see a chap after your 
judy, the best thing to do is to go up to 
her and tell her that you don't mean to 
stand her blooming kid, that you dry 
land her emag. Cutting. 

Dry up (Anglo- Amer.). To cease 
because effete from mining districts 
of W. America, where, when the moun- 
tain torrents dry up in summer, mining 
operations necessarily cease. 

Duca di Somevera (Peoples'). Libe- 
ral Italian translation of Duke of Some- 
where. On a par with the Earl le Bird, 
Sir Tinly Someone, and Swift's Lord 

The unhappy purchaser of a supposed 
masterpiece must be prepared to hear 
that his picture is a replica of one in the 
Isle of Wight, or at Madrid, or in Lord 
Blank's gallery, or in the Palazzo of the 
Duca di Somevera D. N.. 16th June 

Duchess (Silk trade). The shapely 
girl upon whom mantles and jackets 
are tried to enable ladies to judge of 
the effect. 

The Duchess living lay figures receive 
that title, in addition to a whole pound 
a week. Besant & Rice, The Golden 
Butterfly, vol. i. , ch. 11. 

Duchess (Peoples'). Mother in- 
variable title given between familiar 
friends when the mother of either is 
being asked after. ' How's the Duchess, 

The wife, under similar conditions, 
would be asked after as ' The Old 
Clock' a title whose derivation a 
sharp-witted man may find in the first 
chapter of Sterne's Tristram Shandy. 

Duck-pond (Navy). The shallow 
bathing - place on the lower deck, 
effected by a rig -up of sail-cloth, 
made watertight, fixed to the deck, 
and in which the cadets wash and 
roll themselves, in batches, under the 
watchful eyes of a warrant officer. 

Ducks (Soc., 1840). White 
trousers of a peculiarly woven cotton 
fabric mentioned here because it has 
been said to be a corruption of ' dux', 
the name given to the material by the 
Scotch manufacturer who discovered it. 
Dux was, if not is, used much by the 
Scotch. (See Lindley Murray's English 

Duffer-fare ( Lond. Cabmen's). In the 
neighbourhood of the theatres, as clos- 
ing time approaches, the police will not 
allow cabmen to drive empty cabs 
through the Strand highway. In order 
to get past the police, and so obtain a 
chance of a fare when the theatres vomit 
then-thousands, cabmen will ask a pedes- 
trian to be ' chummy ' enough to jump 
in, and be driven into the Strand. 
Here arrived the ' duffing-fare', quits 
the cab, the driver is in the Strand 
and keeps there till 11 P.M. , when the 
theatres disgorging, he gets a fare that 
is no duffer, and who pays more or less 

Duffing (Soc. and Peoples', 1880 on). 
The outcoming adjective of 'duffer' and 
' duff'. By 1897 this word became one 
of the most active qualitatives in the 
language. As a verb it had by this time 
come to be thoroughly conjugated ; 
e.g., 'He duffs everything he touches.' 
' He is the most duffing duffer that 
ever duffed.' 'He has duffed, he does 
duff, and he will duff for ever.' 




Dvk* (Street). Nose. (SeeVook.) 
Duke o' Seven Dials (Low Class, 
1875). Satirical peerage bestowed upon 
any male party dressing or behaving 
above or beyond his immediate sur- 
roundings. There is no corresponding 
duchess. A young person of airs and 
graces is generally spoken of as about 
to marry the peer in question; e.g., 
f I'm going to be the duchess of the 
Dook o' Seven Dials.' Parody Song, 
Drury Lane Pantomime, 1884. 

Duke's (The) (Lond., 19 cent.). A 
nickname of the ArgyllKooms in Wind- 
mill Street, Haymarket, W., now re- 
placed by the Trocadero. In allusion 
to the Duke of Argyll. 

Why should the Argyll be suppressed 
and the Pavilion be tolerated ? Of the 
two ' the Pav. ' is far worse than ' the 
Duke's'. Newsp. Cutting. 

Dukey (Street, Boys'). A penny 
gaff. The four-farthing theatre obtained 
this title from a Jewish proprietor of 
one of these temples of art. His nose 
was very prominent (1840-50). In 
these days such a feature begot its 
owner the title of duker, from the hero 
of Waterloo, emphatically ' the duke ' 
from 1815 to 1850. The 'y' here is 
an instance of endearing addition. 

Dumbed (Amer. Puritanic). Eva- 
sion of ' damned '. 

The man who believes that the Jews 
are such a pack of dumbed fools, as to 
seriously entertain any such plan, should 
be shut up in an asylum for the feeble- 
minded. Newsp. Cutting. 

Dummy ( Thieves'). Loaf probably 
from th softness of the crumb. 

Dumplin' on (L. Classes). Enceinte. 

Dun (Peoples'). To worry for money. 
One of the forcible words gleaned from 
proper names. Of course lexico- 
graphers trace it to Early English, 
Anglo-Saxon, or some other remote 
source. Webster says it is taken from 
the Saxon dynan, to claim. But the 
Saxons did not dun they recovered 
their debts by more forcible means. 

Here is its true origin : It owes its 
birth to one John Dun, a famous 
bailiff of the town of Lincoln ; so ex- 
tremely active, and so dexterous was 
this man at the management of his 
rough business, that it became a pro- 
verb when a man refused to pay his 
debts, * Why don't you dun him ? ' It 
originated in the reign of Henry VII. 

Durn(Amer.~JEng.). Another evasion 
of ' damned '. (See Darn. ) 

Worms that rise early are caught 
gobbled up by birds every time. The 
worm's a durn fool to get up so early. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Dust (American Teamsters). A mere 
light touch of anything. 

The visiting, the music, the marching, 
the cheering and the excitement of the 
reunion, with a little dust of liquor, had 
made him feel quite excited. Newsp. 

Dust (Amer., 1880). To walk 
quickly suggested by the dust thrown 
up in the act. Indirect proof of the 
dry nature of American weather. 

One grabbed a rope that was on the 
sidewalk where they was moving a 
building, and pa got up and dusted. 
You'd a died to see pa run. Newsp. 

Dusting (Boer War, 1899-1900). 
Finishing the war complement of 
' Sweeping up '. 

North of Pretoria there is still a good 
deal of dusting to be done. D. T., 2nd 
November 1900. 

Dustman's bell (Nursery). Time 
for bed. Origin obscure. Is it Dowse 
man's bell curfew bell time to put 
out ('dowse') the lights? Has it any 
association with ' dowse the glim ' ? 
Johnson gives : ' To fall suddenly into 
the water' which would certainly put 
out the light. 

Dust out (Amer. -Eng. ). To retreat 
quickly, ' levant '. Suggested by dust 
thrown up by rapid walking. 

I quickly got inside, locked the door, 
and dusted out the back way. Newsp. 

Dust up (Milit., 19 cent.). An 
engagement from the dust made by 
the movements. 

A member of the Royal Army Medical 
Corps, who, in his own words, ' got 
through the Graspan dust-up nicely ', 
was sent, etc. Z>. T., Boer War, 16th 
January 1900. 

Dusty (Navy). A ship'g steward's 
assistant probably because this hard- 
worked official looks it. 

Dutch (Peoples'). Retreat especi- 
ally from a creditor, and still more 
especially when accompanied by furni- 
ture removed from a tenancy, the rent 
of which has not been handed over. 

1 We did a dutch with everything 
even down to the coal-hammer.' 


Dutch Cheese 

Early Riser 

1 Yere comes 'Anner's young bloke 
I think I'll do a quick dutch/ 

I make myself agreeable, and then 
say, ' I must do a Dutch'. Cutting. 

Dutch cheese (Low London, 1882). 
A bald-head ; derived from the fact 
that Dutch cheeses are generally made 

Dutch daubs (Amer., 1883). Com- 
mon paintings of still-life, imported 
into America by the ten thousands. 
Introduced by the New York Herald 
(April 1883) in reference to a political 
measure which placed a 35 per cent, ad 
valorem duty upon imported pictures. 
The term soon came to mean a bad 
picture of any kind. 

The term 'Dutch Daub' has fetched 
me a little. I call to mind that in almost 
every refreshment buffet and miner 
hotel bar in the Southern and Western 
States you come across oil-paintings of 
still-life. G. A. Sala, 111. London News, 
28th April 1883. 

Dutch row (Street}. A got-up un- 
real wrangle. Rarely heard. On all 
fours with ' une querelle d'Allemand'. 

Dutchman (Soc. of a sort, 1870 on). 
Name for champagne of Deutz and 
Gelderman. Here the first name is 
pronounced Dutch, and the last syllable 
of the second name is added. 

Duty (Lower Class, Respectable). 
Interest on pawnbrokers' pledges. 
Evasive synonym for interest. 

Dying duck in a thunderstorm 
(Peoples'). Lackadaisical. 

* Whoa, call her good-looking ? That 
dona with a mug like a dying duck in a 
thunderstorm, and smiling as if she'd 
had a dose of castor oil and didn't like 
it.' Cutting. 

Dynamite (Afid.-class, 1888). Tea. 
Early in February two men, Americans, 
were tried in connection with Irish- 
American attempts to do injury in this 
country with dynamite. In the course 
of the trial (D.N., 4th Feb. 1888) 
it came out that dynamite was always 
called ' tea' for the purposes of con- 
cealment. The word took at once. 

Dynamite Racket (Amer. Eng., 
1885). Invented contemptuously to 
describe this sort of explosion. 

New York loves a show, whether a 
parade, a big funeral, a blazing fire, or a 
dynamite racket. Newsp. Cutting. 

Dynamiter ( 1 882). A user of dyna- 
mite for illegal purposes. It soon came 
to be a synonym for any violent man 

or woman, especially the latter; e.g., 
1 My eye, ain't she jest a dynamiter ? ' 
When ' tart ' came to be common pass- 
ing English, it was applied to this 
word; e.g., 'Well, she may be tasty, 
but to my mind she's a dynamitart.' 
(See Petroleuse.) 

Dyspepsia (Milit. Hospital). Drink 
delirium. D.T.s. 

E.G. Women (Snob Soc., 1881). 
Wives of city people, so named from 
the city forming the East Central 
postal district of the metropolis. 

E.P. (Theat.). Experienced Play- 

The experienced playgoer will readily 
guess that Branson compasses the 
(apparent) destruction of Gerald, and 
anon returns to Bally vogan to personate 
the heir and the e.p. will be right. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

E. R. ( Oxford 'er'). Suffix applied 
in every conceivable way to every sort 
of word. Began early in the Queen's 
reign and has never lapsed. A new 
woid in 'er' is generally started by 
some quite distinguished Oxonian 
generally a boating man, sometimes 
a debater. 

There has been a furore at Oxford in 
recent years for word-coining of this 
character, and some surprising effects 
have been achieved. A freshman 
became a 'fresher' in the earlier 
Victorian era, and promises to remain 
so for all time and existence. D. T., 
14th August 1899. 

Ear-mark (Parliam., 19 cent.). 
? Note of interrogation, or enquiry. 
Used by M.P.'s when reading Bills 
and other papers to draw their future 
attention. A sort of rebus, from this 
character being something like an 'ear'. 
Word often heard in Parliament. 

Nervous reference is made to the 
assertion of the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer that certain items of 
Transvaal revenue would be ear- marked 
for the purpose of the war contribution. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Early riser (Anglo-Amer. return- 
ing emphasized to England). A sharp, 
business-like person. Probably from 
' Early to bed and early to rise, Makes 


Early Purl 


a man healthy, and wealthy, and wise,' 
or again "Tis the early bird catches 
the worm' (who unfortunately is for 
himself, too early a riser). In U.S.A. 
this phrase takes several shapes the 
best being * You'd have to get up early 
to be before me ! ' 

The general idea is that anybody who 
is going to over-reach Hetty Green (New 
York), or do her out of a fraction of those 
millions, will have to be a very early riser 
indeed. She gives no costume dances, 
and never will ; she would be better liked 
if she did. D. T., 10th February 1897. 

Early purl (Street, 19 cent.). A 
drink made of hot beer and gin, so 
named because taken early on a cold 
morning. A song ran 
' I'm damned if I think 
There's another such drink 
As good early purl.' 
When princes and princesses are 
born there is a lavish distribution of 
' caudle ', a mysterious beverage of the 
nature whereof we confess ourselves as 
ignorant as of that of ' early purl '. 

Early-turners (Music-hall). Scorn- 
ful reference to an inferior artist who 
takes his ' turns ' early in the evening, 
before the audience is thrang, or 
fashionable, or both. From 8.0 to 
8,30. (See Enders.) 

Earth-hunger (Political, 1880). 
Greed to possess land. Supposed to 
have come from Ireland, and in that 
relation to refer to the desires of 
peasants to obtain a bit of land. In 
England used to define the passion of 
landed proprietors to add to their land 
at any cost. 

East of the Griffin ( W. London). 
East London. Replaced ' East of 
Temple Bar'. Outcome of the city 
Griffin on his wonderful pedestal 
replacing Temple Bar. 

At the Pavilion Theatre, you ought to 
know by this time, even if you never go 
east of the Griffin, they do things in a 
way that is not excelled at many West 
End theatres that I am acquainted with. 
Ref., llth October 1885. 

Eat strange meat (Soc., 19 cent.). 
A delicate evasion of cannibalism. 

We feel much less horror than in face 
of the naked fact of cannibalism practised 
by civilized men for the sake of dear life. 
Life is not worth the imputation of 
having 'eaten strange meat'. D. N., 
14th August 1884. 

Eat the leek. To apologize. From 

Eat vinegar with a fork (Peoples'). 
The extreme of acid sharpness in 
conversation. The vinegar alone \v ould 
set teeth on edge, the fork intensifies 
the condiment. 

Eatings (Peoples'; old). An ancient 
word now represented by board ; e.g., 
' The room 'ull be 'arf-a-crown a week, 
without eatin's' for there are lodgers 
who would expect banquets thrown in 
with a sixpenny bed for the night. 

Eautybeau (Music-hall transposi- 
tion). Beauty. 

Do I know him? Do I rumble the 
eautybeau? What do you think? 

Ebenezar (Puritanic). An exclama- 
tion of rejoicing from the Hebrew. 
George Eliot often uses this word in 
her diary. 

Eccer (Oxford 'er'). Exercise- 
both c's hard. 

Every man after lunch devotes himself 
to 'eccer', which is, in ordinary parlance, 
exercise. This may take the shape of 
' footer ', or a mild constitutional known 
as a 'constitutor', while if any one 
lounges idly about he is, of course, a 
'slacker'./). T., 14th August 1899. 

Edgarism (Club, 1882). This was 
the new satirical name given to 
agnosticism, or rather atheism upon 
the production of Tennyson's prose 
play The Promise of May. The villain- 
hero, Edgar, is an educated man of 
position, who bases his arguments 
for free love and free will upon a denial 
of the deity. This bit of historical 
passing English died with the play, 
which, while never successful, was 
most unfairly damned by critics and 
public. The former appear to have 
resented the poet's despotic associa- 
tions of free thought with immorality 
as a necessary outcome of atheism. 
Edge (Criminal). To bolt, escape. 
Probably from 'dodge' and retire. 

One of the other two called out 'Edge' 
(a slang term to be off), and they ran 
away. D. N.> November 1886. 

Eekcher (Peoples', 1882). Inversion 
of cheek audacity. 

Well, modesty is not marketable 
nowadays, and perhaps Tippy is right 
to pin his faith to the doctrine that 
there's nothing like ' eekcher '. Newsp. 

Eel-skin (Soc. t 1881). A name 
given to the tight skirt worn at this 
date; e.g., 'She wore an eel-skin of 
London smoke.' (See One leg.) 




Eenque (Streets ; transposition). 
Queen. A very popular example of 
this queer mode of word-making. 

So shout, you beggars, shout ; God 
save the Eenque. Cutting. 

Eetswe (Transposition). Sweet a 
very commoH word in low life ; e.g., 
'Lord, I am eetswe on that udyju' 

Eff., Effy. (Theatr.) Abbreviation 
of Effingham, a small theatre once in 
E. London. 

Efficient effrontery (Soc., 1885). 
Clever audacity brought in by J. W. 
M'N. Whistler in February by a lecture 
at Prince's Hall, called ' Ten o'clock ', 
from the hour at which it began 
P.M. It was an attack upon art -critics 
in general, and Ruskin in particular. 
The lecturer used this term, which at 
once became familiar in society in a 
hundred ways. 

Mr Whistler's lecture is distinctly a 
surprise. He deprecates the tone in 
which such subjects are too frequently 
handled. The commonplace world 
endowed with ' efficient effrontery ' no 
longer reverently approaches Art as a 
dainty goddess, but 'chucks her under 
the chin 1 . D. N., 21st February 1885. 

Eicespie (Transposition). Pieces. 
An interesting example of the rough 
logic used in phrase -making. ' Pieces' 
is a figure of speech for money, and 
there is the ordinary transposition. 
But that is not all. The i being left 
as the initial would destroy the ordinary 
vowel sound of * piece ' ; therefore the 
e is placed before the t. 

Does the artful, and he draws the 
eicespie. Cutting. 

Eighteen-carat lie (Amer., 1883), 
A good, sound lie, 18-carat gold being 
good, thorough metal. 

Eighty Club (Soc.). A club formed 
in the year 4 '80 ', shortly before the 
general election, with the object of 
promoting political education, and 
stimulating Liberal organization by 
supplying Liberal meetings in London 
and the country with speakers and 

Eiley Mavourneen (Commercial). 
A non- paying debtor. Refers to the 
line in Moore's song, ' It may be for 
months, and it may be for never.' 

Elaborate the truth (Soc.). To 

Elderly Jam (Peoples, 1880 on). 
Aging woman. Qualified jam ; e.g., 

'Elderly jam is elderly jam, and 
heaven preserve it, for man turns from 

Electrate (1890 on). To describe 
locomotion by electricity. 

They go by train to Bourne End, where 
they take to the river and 'electrate' 
to Medmenham Abbey and Henley. 
Electrate is one of the recently-invented 
verbs to express the new mode of loco- 
motion, to which the words sail and 
steam are inapplicable. Newsp. Cutting. 
Applied more recently to violent 
and eccentric meetings; e.g., 'They 
electrated from 8 to 1 1 . 1 5 p. M. Every- 
thing was amended, and then they 
amended the amendments.' 

Electrocution (Amer.-Eng., 1890). 
Execution by electricity. Built upon 

Elephant's Trunk (Street; rhym- 
ing}. Drunk. The phrase became 
incomprehensible by the dropping of 
the rhyming. ' Oh, he's elephants ' 
(i.e., intoxicated) will, in time to come, 
exercise many an etymologist. 

(Daddy) And what am I to be? 
(Mother G.) Get out you're drunk. 
(P. Char.) You shall be let's see Baron 
Elephant's Trunk. 

A capital example of a common bit 
of slang phrase locally applied, for 
this line is found in an Elephant and 
Castle Theatre Pantomime. It should 
be added that 'daddy' was a satire 
upon the Blue Ribbon movement 
he belonging to it, and yet always 
being ' elephant's trunk '. 

Elevator (Soc., 1882 on). The 
crinolette. For some years the dress 
below the back of the waist was almost 
flat, when in this year bows were seen 
there, and then followed the crinolette, 
which, throwing up the dress, obtained 
this satiric name amongst young men, 
and was afterwards accepted literally. 

Elijah Two (Amer.-Eng.). A 
false prophet. From one Dr Dowie, 
an American peripatetic preacher who 
first gained this title. His son was 
dubbed Elijah Three. 

Ellersby (Peoples', 1870 on). The 
initials of the London School Board. 
No particular point beyond brevity 
said to be the soul of wit. 

L.S.B. Extravagance : The extraordin- 
ary extravagance of the London School 
Board is strikingly shown by the con- 
stant increase in the amount paid by the 
Strand Board of Works. People, 20th 
September 1896. 



Establish a Funk 

Ellessea (L. Compositors}. The 
initials of London Society of Com- 

Elongated kisser. A wide mouth. 

' Yer looks like a lady, ' I says ; ' then 
why do yer wipe yer elongated kisser 
with a whopping great red stook?' 

Empress Pidgeon (Naval, 1876 on). 
Pigeon is discussion, and Empress 
Pigeon was a palaver with Queen 
Victoria for a basis. Now Emperor 

Endacotted (Socialist, 1887). 
Illegally arrested. Attributed to Mrs 
Annie Besant. Derived evidently, by 
partial similarity in sound, from Boy- 
cott, and referring to a policeman of 
the name who was tried and acquitted 
(1887) upon an indictment for illegal 
arrest of a young dressmaker, whom he 
swore was a well-known woman of the 
town. After a time the term was 
reduced to 'cotted' following the 
common tendency to shorten phrases 
and even words. 

Ender (Music-hall). A performer 
of inferior quality, even inferior to an 
'early-turner,' (q.v.) who only 'goes on' 
after the great hours. Enders perform 
from 11 to 11.80 when most music- 
halls are emptying except on ' bens '. 

End -men (Negro Minstrels). The 
two comic black souls who enliven 
with small wit a negro entertainment, 
and sit at either end of the line of 
seated performers. Now passed to 
black comics who even sit in the 

On the stage there are sixty of these 
dark coloured minstrels, whose voices are 
interposed with striking effect in many 
of the choruses. The ' end men ' are 
numerous, and amply endowed with a 
boisterous humour. Newsp. Cutting. 

Engineer (Amer.-Eng., 1880). To 
manage, manipulate, direct. Out- 
growth of railway and steam era 

Afterwards you may look out for Daly's 
Company from New York, engineered by 
Terriss. Rtf., 8th June 1884. 

English pluck (Peoples'). Money, 
figuratively ; e.g., ' Got any English 
pluck to-day ? ' (Have you any money 
with which to gamble by means of 
tossing ?) 

Enobs (Back slang). Bone, in 
ordinary plural. A very favourite 
specimen because by chance the 


inversion is a sort of rebus, bones 
showing affording a study of ' knobs '. 

But he swallowed a box of matches 
one day which burnt away all the fat 
and left the mere enoba you see now. 

Enthuse (A mer.). Abbreviation of 
'create enthusiasm'. Not yet ac- 
cepted in England. 

An entirely new play, called Uncle 
Tom's Cabin, with muzzled bloodhounds 
in their stellar r61e, did not enthuse the 
manager nor his patrons of the past 
week. Newsp. Cutting. 

Enthuzimuzzy (Soc., 19 cent.). 
Satirical reference to enthusiasm. 
Attributed to Braham the terror. 

Entire Squat (Amer., reaching 
Eng. 1883). A household, including 
wife, children, servants, and furniture. 

Espysay (Stable, 1880 on). A word 
composed of the letters S.P.C.A. 
initials of the Society for the Preven- 
tion of Cruelty to Animals. Secretive 
in its nature, being created by people 
about horses and cattle, many of whom 
go about in savage fear of this valuable 

Essex calves (Provincial). A 
contemptuous designation of Essex- 
men, always looked down upon by 
more prosperous Suffolk. 

Essex lion. Lion is a variant of 
calf. Not used in Essex, but against 
it ; especially by superior Kent, over 
the way, on the south side of the 
Thames. Interesting as showing inter- 
county hostilities, now passing away. 
The men of Kent or Keniish men 
(between whom there would appear to 
be great differences) have always 
belonged to an advanced part of 
England, and have escaped satire by 
reason of their superiority. Probably 
they gave their county neighbours 
their well-known sobriquets Hamp- 
shire Hogs, Sussex Sows, Surrey 
Swine. Middlesex they avoided, but 
Essex, separated from them by the 
Thames, and inferior, as a county, to 
Kent, as indeed it remains to this 
day, was specially honoured with a 

Establish a funk (Oxford). To 
create a panic invented by a great 
bowler, at cricket, who enlivened this 
distinction with some cannon - ball 
bowling which was equivalent amongst 
the enemy to going into action. Funk 
for panic, dismay, alarm is superior 


Eye in a Sling 

to origin. Probably from establish a 
suit in whist. 

Euro ! (Navy). Seamen's name for 
the Europa a happy example of the 
sailor's love of getting in a final 0, 
as in ' what oh ! ', ' what cheer oh ! ', 

Europe on the chest (Army). 
Home - sickness. Used chiefly by 
soldiers in India, who commit offences 
sometimes in order to be sent home. 

Sir, they are not all bad at the bottom 
of them, but they have had at times 
the fever, and ague and their heart grows 
faint for England, and then they get 
what the driver terms Europe on the 
chest, and at the same time he is not 
particular what he does as long as he has 
a chance of coming to England. Letter 
by Convict, D. N., 3rd November 1885. 

Even with, To get. A vigorous 
use of this word, to procure equality 
with one who has bested the speaker, 
e.g., 'Never fear, I'll get even with 
him yet.' 

Evening wheezes (Peoples'). 
False news, spread in evening half- 
penny papers in order to sell them. 

Eventuate. To result. A direct 
importation from America, and not 
at all wanted. 

' It appeared as though we were com- 
mitted to a conflict with the House of 
Lords of a nature so strenuous and so 
exciting that it might possibly have 
eventuated in something like a revolu- 
tion.' H. Richard, M.P., Speech, 1st 
January 1885. 

Everlasting knock (Amer.-Eng.). 
The stroke of death. 

And so he closes his career. He may 
be far happier as a man than he has ever 
been, but as a ruling prince he has taken 
the everlasting knock. Ref., 10th March 

Everything is nice in your garden 
(Soc., passing to People, 1896 on). A 
gentle protest against self-laudation ; 
e.g., 'I don't wish to praise myself, 
but I believe I'm the greatest living 
tenor, in this world at all events ! ' 
Reply: 'Yes, yes, everything is nice 
in your garden ! ' This is said to be 
derived from one of the young 
princesses (probably a daughter of 
the Princess Beatrice) who made this 
reply when something in her garden 
at Osborne was praised by Her 
Majesty. If this is a true statement, 
it forms one of the very rare phrases 
that have come down from the pre- 
cincts of the throne. 


Ewigkeit (Soc., 1880). This 
German word for ' eternity ' came to 
be used not so much in adulation of 
Carlyle as in order to fall in with the 
bantering spirit of treating religious 
speculation, which began to grow 
rapidly in this year. It spread slowly, 
and by 1883 was found in popular 

All these things have vanished 
temporarily into the ' ewigkeit ', to 
yield the field to beer and spirits the 
people's drink, the birthright of every 
free-born Briton. Ref., 17th May 1885. 

Exceedings (Oxford). Expenditure 
beyond income. A delicate evasion. 

Extra (Theatrical). An individual 
of the great brigades who ' go on ', but 
do not speak, sing, or dance. An 
extra does but fill the eye. Generally 
a pretty girl, of no talent, perhaps 
with a passion for the stage perhaps 
with ulterior intentions. 

Extra pull (Operatives'). Ad' 
vantage, or disadvantage, as the case 
may be. As an advantage, it is a 
figure of speech from the extra pull 
of the handle of the beer engine in 
public-houses (See Long Pull) a pull 
which flushes a spirt of beer into 
' their own jugs ' after the proper 
measure, in the publican's pewter, has 
been shot in. As a disadvantage 
refers to the extremely troublesome 
tooth in the dentist s grip. All 
depends on the context. 

Extradition Court (Polit.). The 
second justice-room at Bow Street 
(London). Name given jocularly by 
officials. Good example of the mode 
in which passing English grows out 
of the history of the day. 

The case was taken in the second court, 
which is commonly called the Extradition 
Court, because nearly all the extradi- 
tion cases are heard in it. D. N., 10th 
April 1883. 

Extreme Rockite (Clerical). One 
who believes in the Rock newspaper, 
and preaches on its basis. 

In a recent issue of a contemporary, 
for instance, we find a 'liberal' rector 
asking for a fellow labourer, who among 
other qualifications must be ' an extreme 
Rockite'. Newsp. Gutting. 

Eye in a sling (Peoples'). Crushed, 
defeated. From the doleful appear- 
ance presented by a sufferer with a 
bandage over the suffering eye. 

Eye Peeled 

Fake a Picture 

Eye peeled (W. Amer.). 
well opened ; peeled away from droop- 
ing lids ; on the watch. 

The Librarian was instructed to keep 
his eye peeled for a stray copy of a 
Chinese hymn book which might be 
bought cheap. Newsp. Cutting. 

F.C.'s (Theat.). False Calves (i.e. 
paddings used by actors in heroic 
parts to improve the shape of the legs). 

F.F.V. (Anglo- Amer. Soc.). Dis- 
tinguished. Initials of First Families 
(of) Virginia. Used quite seriously in 
the South of the U.S.A. and satirically 
in the North. The origin of the use 
of the letters may be traced to Mas- 
singer's City Madam) Act V. , sc. 1 (acted 
in 1622). 

Face the music. To fearlessly 
meet difficulties. 

Before sailing Mr Cecil Rhodes gave a 
brief interview to some reporters. He 
stated that he would not resign his seat 
in the Cape Parliament. ' I shall meet 
my detractors. I will face the music.' 
D. T., 18th January 1896. 

Face ticket (British Museum). A 
ticket is required for the Reading 
Room. It is never asked for when a 
constant reader passes the janitors. 
Nothing is said the passer-by has a 
face ticket. 

Fade (Pure Amer.). Antithesis of 
masher and dude. Either of these 
ornamental beings gone shabby. 

A young lady employed at one of the 
Exposition displays rather took the shine 
off of a fade the other day. The fade, 
recently a dude, walked up to the place 
where she was stationed, etc. Newsp. 

Fair cop (Thieves'). Undoubted 
arrest ; ' fair' here means ' thorough ', 
while ' cop ' is from Early English for 
' catch '. 

Fair herd (Oxf. Univer.). Good 
attendance of strangers. 

Foreigners are sometimes busy, or in- 
different, or afraid of the Channel, and 
many promising schemes for a ' fair herd ' 
on Commemoration Day have broken 
down owing to this cause. D. N., 13th 
Tune 1883. 

Fair itch (Street). Utter imitation. 
Equally vulgar and vigorous. 

Fair trod on (Street, 1887 on). 
Most ill-used. 

' Oh, the yeroines o' them penny nove- 
lettes yer 'good old penny ones none 
o' yer 'apenny ones for me o' them 
yeroines arn't they fair trod on ? ' 
Bessie Bellwood (serio-comic, Jan. 1891). 

Fair warning (Street). Manly and 
frank intimation. 

Faire Charlemagne (17 cent., 
Court). To know when to leave off 
especially at cards. A corruption of 
' faire chut la main ' to make quiet 
the hand ; that is, do not go on mani- 
pulating the cards, ' chut ' being the 
equivalent of the English ' hush'. Said 
to be used by Louise de Querouilles, 
known as Mother Carwell, and after- 
ward as the Duchess of Portsmouth 
a very economic and long-headed 

That feat which the French describe 
by the mysterious expression, ' faire 
Charlemagne ' the feat of leaving off a 
winner is one of the most difficult in the 
world to perform. D. T., 22nd April 
1896. _ 

Fairy (Lower Peoples). A de- 
bauched, hideous old woman, especially 
when drunk. 

Fairy, To go a (Theat.). To toss 
for a penn'orth of gin, meaning that a 
fairy takes very little. In use amongst 
the minor literary men. 

Fairy tales (Mid. Class, 1899 on). 

Mr Kruger, for the information of his 
sympathisers in America, has told a 
Chicago journalist one of his pretty little 
fairy tales, the only truth in which is 
that some burghers are again taking up 
arms. D. T., 4th July 1900. 

Fake a curtain (Theat., 1884). 
Reference to ' Take a curtain ', ' Curtain- 
taker ', and ' Lightning curtain-taker', 
will alone enable the student to com- 
prehend this term. To fake a curtain 
is to agitate the act-drop after it has 
fallen, and so perhaps thereby induce 
a torpid audience to applaud a little, 
and justify the waiting actor to ' take 
a curtain'. The manager himself may 
direct this operation, but it is generally 
the stage-manager who manipulates the 

Fake a picture (Artistic, 1860 on). 
To obtain an effect by some adroit, 
unorthodox means. In this sense it 
is difficult to say where swindling ends 
and genius begins. It is much used 
by inferior artists. 


Fake a Poke 

Farthing -taster 

Fake a poke (Thieves'). To pick, 
or manipulate, a pocket. This phrase 
is a singular revival. Johnson has 
' Fake amongst seamen a pile of rope,' 
and as to poke ' a pocket or small 
bag'. ' I will not buy a pig in a 
poke !' Camden. 

He denied that when entering the 
music hall he was accused by a larty of 
picking her pocket, and further said that 
when called out he did not say he had 
never ' faked a poke ' in his life. People, 
6th September 1896. 

Fake pie (Straitened Soc., 1880). 
A towards -the-end-of-the- week effort 
at pastry, into which go all the ' orts ', 
' overs ', and ' ends ' of the week. See 
Resurrection pie a term which this 
has superseded. 

Fakement Chorley (Dangerous 
Classes). A private mark, especially 
on the outside of houses and in thieves' 

Fal (Rhyming, 1868). Represents 
'gal '(girl). 

Fall in the thick (Street). To be- 
come dead drunk. Full of metaphor. 
Black beer is called thick, so is mud ; 
the phrase suggests equal misery 
whether the patient plunged in the 
mud, or rambled into drunkenness. 

Fall-downs (Street, 19 cent.). The 
fragments of cookshop puddings which 
fall down while rapidly slicing up the 
puddings for sale ; fragments which 
are finally collected on a plate, and 
sold for a halfpenny. A boy will rush 
in, and, with the air of a general at 
least, say: "A'porth o' fall-downs'. 
Conquered when the reply comes, 
'Hall sold!' 

Fancy oneself (Mid. Classes). On 
good terms with oneself. 

They had never known a Government 
which, if he might use the language of 
the street, 'fancied itself ' to the extent 
to which the present Government did. 
D. T., 14th December 1897. 

Fanned with a slipper (Amer.- 
Eng., 1880 on). Simply spanked, the 
vibratory action suggesting the fan- 

Miss Lulu Valli made a hit at once 
as the demon child, Birdikins, who is 
threatened to be 'fanned with the 
slipper' of her devoted but erratic 
mother. D. T., 2nd February 1897. 

Fanning the hammer ( W. Amer., 
1886). Brilliantly unscrupulous. In- 
stantaneously active, equal to ener- 

getic in the highest. Example of 
application of one term to varying 
meanings. Derived from West Ameri- 
can gamblers wiring back the trigger 
of their revolvers, so that its stop- 
action is arrested. The six barrels of 
the revolver are discharged by rapidly 
striking back the hammer with the 
outer edge of the right hand, while 
the revolver is held in the left. This 
vibratory action of the right hand is 
the fanning. No aim can be taken, 
and fanning is only successful in a 
crowd. Six bullets will generally 
clear a crowd. So rapid is word adap- 
tation in the States that already the 
term 'fanner' is used to describe an 
unscrupulously brave man. 

Far away (Lower Classes, 1884). 
Pawned. From a song, a parody upon 
' Far, far away '. One line ran, 
' Where are my Sunday clothes?' To 
which the singer answered, ' Far, far 
away '. The ' far away ' is mine 
uncle's. Passed into a verb; e.g., 'I 
far-awayed my tools this blessed day 
-I did!' 

Far gone (Theat., 1882). Ex- 
hausted, or worn out, figuratively. 

Miss Gilchrist, who has now matured 
into a well-formed young woman, is 
what I should call a vocal defaulter, her 
singing being ' far gone '. Entr'acte, 
April 1883. 

Farcidrama (Theat., 1885). A 
failure comedy of a farcical char- 
acter, tied with a thread of serious 
interest. Discovered by Mr Ashley 
Sterry to describe a posthumous half- 
finished comedy by H. J. Byron, and 
named The Shuttlecock one which Mr 
Sterry quite finished. It failed, and 
this word at once came to be used to 
describe a failure of any light piece. 
'It was a farcidrama' meaning a 

To begin with, the description of The 
Shuttlecock as a ' farcidrama in three 
acts and a song ' may be set down to the 
living rather than to the dead dramatist. 
Re/. , 17th May 1885. 

Farthing-faced chit (Peoples'). 
Small, mean-faced, as insignificant as 
a farthing. Chit also means small and 

Farthing-taster (Street Children's, 
1870 on). Lowest quantity of com- 
monest ice - cream sold by London 
street itinerant ice-cream vendors. 

In other shops may be seen hundreds 
of the thick, small glasses in which the 



Feel like accepting It 

' farthing-taster ' will be dealt out to 
their juvenile consumers. Newsp. Cut- 
ting, 27th June 1898. 

Fastened (Lanes.}. Pawned. 

Fastidious cove (London, 1882). 
A droll phrase for a fashionable 
swindler, who pretends to be of the 
upper ten. 

You can always tell the ' fastidious 
cove ' by his sending twenty-seven cuffs 
and collars to the laundry accompanied 
by a single shirt. Cutting. 

Fat ale (Peoples', early 19 cent.}. 
Strong ale as distinct from weak ale, 
which is 'thin'. 

4 1 was stupefied as much as if I had 
committed a debauch upon fat ale.' 
Marryatt, Rattlin the Reefer, ch. 58. 

Fat will burn itself out of the fire 
(Peoples'}. Antithesis of ' All the fat's 
in the fire '. 

After a while, however, the fat burnt 
itself out of the fire, and the happy 
couple seemed to get on very comfort- 
ably. Cutting. 

Favourite vice (Jovial, 1880). 
General habitual strong drink. 

'I have watched the Prince's pro- 
gress,' says His Worship, 'and I am 
glad to say there has been progress ; 
for at one time I did not entertain a 
particularly high opinion of him. I 
rather thought that the Prince cared 
more for his pleasures and, I may as 
well say, for his vices, than for the 
duties of his high position.' Of course, 
the word 'vices' is here used in a 
harmless sense : for example, when the 
bottles and the cigar-case are to the fore, 
even a bishop may enquire of you, with 
a jovial smile of boon companionship, 
What is your favourite vice? D. N., 
6th October 1885. 

Fearful frights (Peoples'}. Kicks, 
in the most humiliating quarters. 

I shouldn't like to be in James Carey's 
boots his trousers either, if all I hear is 
true. He's had some fearful frights, you 
bet. Cutting. 

Fearful wild fowl (Soc.}. From 
Shakespeare's line, any extraordinary 
creature not often seen ; even applied 
to men making antic fools of 

A full programme of the Show is a 
formidable study, but a patient plodding 
through it shows that the fearful wild 
fowl mentioned are really to take a part 
in the pageant. D. N., 10th November 

Feather in her mouth (Marine). 
Capable of showing temper, but hold- 

ing it in. Poetical description of the 
merest idea of foam at the point where 
a ship's cut- water touches the wave, 
and which shows there either has been, 
or will be, dirty weather. 

So to Elba the Foam was now directing 
her course, dancing lightly along upon a 
sparkling and nearly smooth surface, 
with only just enough movement during 
the later portion of the day to keep 
a very small ' feather in her mouth '. 
Sir E. Arnold, in D. T., 31st March 

Feather in the cap (Hist. }. Prob- 
ably from Scotland, where only he who 
had shot an eagle dared to wear a 
feather in his cap. 

Features. Practically no features 
worth talking about. Satirical-like 
expression, e.g., 'Hullo, Features!' 
' Face ' is used similarly. 

Fed (Amer., 1860-65). Abbrevia- 
tion of federal, given to themselves 
by the Northerners, whereupon the 
Southerners cut themselves down to 
Confeds, and met the Northerners at 

Fed up with (Boer War, 1899- 
1900). Overdone, oppressed, filled 

' Oh, I'm about fed up with it ' is the 
current slang of the camps when officers 
and men speak of the war. D. T., 20th 
October 1900. 

Feeder (Theat., 1880). Actor or 
actress whose part simply feeds that 
of a more important comedian. Took 
the place of the ' confidante ' in opera. 

Feeding birk (Thieves'}. Cook- 
shop ' birk ' being possibly a cor- 
ruption of ' barrack '. 

You have to be a bit cheeky to go into 
a feeding birk to order pannum good 
enough for a prince without a D in your 
clye. Cutting. 

Feel cheap (Peoples', 1890). 
Humiliated, e.g., 'Every other girl was 
in white, and I felt quite cheap.' 

Feel like (Amer.-Eng., 1884). 
Inclined towards. 

' Do you feel like brandy and water ? ' 
is certainly an incorrect question (even 
grammatically) in England. Across the 
sea we believe the observation means, 
' Do you feel inclined to partake, at my 
charge, of the refreshment of cognac and 
water?'/). N., 16th April 1885. 

Feel like accepting it (Amer.). To 
repent, be humble. 

In his death we has lost a good man, 
but we has at de same time gained some 


Feel One's Oats 


waluable experience, in case we feel like 
accepting it. Lime-kiln Club, 1883. 

Feel one's oats (Amer. - Eng. ). 
Certain to be active. Figure of speech 
from the work got out of a well oat- fed 
horse, e.g., 'You needn't be afraid 
he's a man that feels his oats.' 

Feel the collar (Stable). To 
perspire in walking. 

Feel very cheap (Mid. -class Eng., 
1885 on). Antithesis of self-sufficiency. 
Generally refers to condition when 
recovering from dissipation. 

Does some brother officer adjacent 
'feel very cheap' after some midnight 
revelry ; or how comes it that my host 
is not in the way ? Clement Scott, in 
D. T., 21st January 1893. 

Female personator (Music - hall). 
Another misnomer (see Male im- 
personator), for the performer is a 
male who impersonates female appear- 
ance, singing, and dancing. A man 
who dresses and acts like a woman, 
while the male impersonator is a 
woman who dresses and acts like a 
man. These interchanges of sexual 
appearance are still much relished on 
the music-hall stage. 

Fenian (Peoples', 1882 on). Three 
cold Irish, i.e., threepence worth of 
Irish whisky and cold water. Brevity 
is the soul of cruel as of brilliant wit. 
In this instance the wit is very cruel, 
for it refers to the hanging and there- 
fore coldening of the three Fenians 
who were hanged for the murder of 
Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr 
Burke, Under-Secretary for Ireland, 
in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, on 6th 
May 1882. Other authorities say that 
the three Irish, here referred to with 
such grim humour, were the Fenians 
Allen, Larkin and O'Brien, hanged at 
Manchester for the murder of Police 
Sergeant Brett. They are called by 
the Irish national party ' the Man- 
chester martyrs '. In Manchester itself 
the ' 3 cold Irish ' became at public- 
house bars ' Give me a Fenian '. 
The term spread all over England. 
(See Got a clock.) 

Fewer of him (Amer. -Eng., 1880). 
Expression of congratulation at absence 
of numbers in the given case. 

An English judge is a much more con- 
spicuous personage than a judge in any 
foreign country. His salary is higher, 
his social position is better, and there 

are, to use an expressive Americanism, 
' fewer of him '. Newsp. Gutting. 

Fiddle-face (Peoples^. A doleful 
face, widening abnormally at the 
temples and jaws, and sinking at the 
cheek bones. 

Put on a fiddle-face and jaw to him 
about his future, and it's most likely he 
and his mates will slosh your mug for 
you and sneak your yack. Cutting. 

Fiddler (Racing). Fille de I'air a 
French horse. The Anglicization of the 
names of foreign horses is a positive 
study in itself. English racing men 
who speak French always accept the 
English baptism. 

Another stud horse, Peut-Etre, always 
called in the English betting ring 
'Potater' was, as well as a few other 
lots, bought in. Newsp. Cutting. 

In the case of Volodyovski (Derby 
winner, 1901) no Anglicization was 
possible, so the pencillers tried an 
assonance, and styled him Bottle o' 
Whisky, and it is interesting in this 
connection to observe that in all 
professions and trades uncommon 
proper names are always Anglicized 
roughly, absurdly, no doubt ; but this 
process clears away all doubt as to 
pronunciation. For instance, in the 
Navy sailors always simplify a hard- 
named ship. A person had a vessel 
named the Spero, which was corrupted 
into Sparrow. As for Psyche, what 
they called her can scarcely be men- 
tioned in decent company. Another 
person bought a vessel called the 
Daedalus, which was called the Dead- 

Field Lane duck (Holborn, Lond.\ 
Baked bullock's heart. A good 
example of lower peoples' habit of 
satirising their own poverty. This 
bake is made savoury, and is the 
nearest approach to duck possible, 
exactly as baked liver with sage and 
onions is called ' poor man's goose '. 
Field Lane was a near neighbour of 
Saffron Hill, where Dickens's Fagin 
reigned ; London improvements have 
nearly swept it away. Field Lane is 
great in the annals of charity as the 
locality where first a night refuge was 

Field-running (Builders', 1860). 
Building rickety houses rapidly over 
suburban fields. Introduced when the 
district railways brought small sub- 
urban houses into fashion. 


Fiery Cross 

Fin de Siecle 

Fiery cross (Liter., 19 cent). 
Warning of dagger. Probably from 
Scott who introduces this naming 
mode of carrying news of clan-risings. 
The Police send round the Fiery 
Cross: 'Idle Panic' was the headline 
by which we described in our later 
editions of yesterday the extraordinary 
alarm which seized upon the metropolis, 
and nothing which occurred during the 
evening calls for any modification of 
that description. P. M. 6?., llth 
February 1886. 

Fifteen puzzle (Mid. -class Eng.). 
Complete confusion. The fifteen 
puzzle was an arrangement of move- 
able cubes bearing numbers which 
were to be arranged in a square, so 
that every line counted fifteen. It 
was very difficult and became a rage 
(1879). It soon came to represent 
confusion, incomprehensibility. 

The syrup cup was, for a while, a 
fifteen-puzzle for the bear. American 
Bear Story, 1883. 

Fight space with a hair-pin 
(Oxford Univ., 1882). A figurative 
way of describing the impossible. 

Fighting Fours (Milit.). The 
44th Regiment. 

The 44th East Essex loses nothing of 
its identity in being called ' The Essex 
Regiment' except, perhaps, that the 
signification of The Fighting Fours is 
hardly so clear as it was. D. N., July, 

Fighting the tiger (San Francisco). 
Gaming, with all its consequences ; 
some of which are desperate. Practi- 
cally applied desperate game. 

He asked me if I had ever heard of 
Faro, and if I knew the meaning of 
' fighting the tiger '. Soon afterwards I 
learned that I was conversing with the 
keeper of one of the most notable among 
the gaming hells of San Francisco. 

Figure-head (Nautical). The head 
simple, and suggested of course by the 
prow-terminal of most English ships. 

A cove can, too, if he likes, spend the 
half of his bob in pongelow and the 
other tanner in bread and cheese, but 
we think he's likely to stop out of collar 
longer than a cove who doesn't cloud his 
blooming figure-head with booze. 

We have onoe or twice landed our 
blooming figure-head on the kerb. 

Filbert (Street). Head variety of 
1 nut ' to describe the same. Prob- 
ably applied to a long-shaped head. 
Derived from prize ring. 

' Yere come and look at the bloke 
standin' on his filbert,' said the boy. 

Filibuster (Amer.). To obstruct, 
impede business. 

The Senate had an all-night sitting, 
the Republicans filibustered from six 
P.M. till early morning. To ' filibuster ' 
means in its Parliamentary sense to 
obstruct. Newsp. Cutting, 1882. 

Filing -lay (Thieves', 18 cent.). 
Pocket -picking. Fielding's Jonathan 
Wild. Probably from the French fil ' 
thread from threading the fingers 
in the pocket. 

Fill the bill (Amer.) To suit. 
I have a tree claim and homestead, 
am a good cook and not afraid to work, 
and willing to do my part. If any man 
with a like amount of land, and decent 
face and carcass, wants a good wife, I 
can fill the bill. Newsp. Cutting. 

Fill, To give a (Thieves'). To 
deceive, e.g., 'I gave the blue belly a 
fill' would mean that you sent the 
policeman on a wrong scent. 

Fills a gentleman's eye (Sporting). 
Shapely possessed of thoroughly good 

What do we not suffer from other 
people's dogs ? Our own, of course, is a 
treasure of love and loyalty, he has a 
splendid nose, is perfectly purely bred, 
and, in short, as doggy people say, ' he 
fills a gentleman's eye'. D. N., 1875. 

Filly (Ball-room). A lady who 
goes racing pace in round dances, e.g., 
' She's the quickest filly in the barn. ' 
Either from French 'fille', or in refer- 
ence to the use of the word in stables. 
' Colt ' is often applied to an active 

Filly and foal (Peoples'). A young 
couple of lovers sauntering apart from 
the world. 

Fin de siecle (Soc., 1897 on). Ex- 
treme in literature, art, and music. 
From Paris adopted here in a con- 
demnatory spirit. Within a year in 
London was introduced the phrase 
'New Century' first applied in a 
public manner to the 'New Century 
Theatre Society' whose plays were 
based upon the Ibsen theories of life. 
The authors appear to have thought 
these words typical of the 20th cen- 
tury, whereas Ibsen towards the close 
of the 19th century had been writing 
for more than fifty years, and had long 
been a classic in Scandinavia and, in a 
lees degree, throughout Germania. 


Find Cold Weather 


Find cold weather (Public-house). 
To be bounced, or expelled ; e.g., ' Yere 
you if you ain't quiet you'll soon find 
cold weather / can tell yer '. 

Finger and thumb (Rhyming). 

Finger in the pie (Peoples'). Ob- 
vious and based upon the philosophy 
of too many cooks spoiling the broth. 

Finish (Soc., 1830). A house where 
the night (which was next morning 
about 4 A.M.) was finished by the 
exhaustion of the debauche". 

' We are writing of the days when 
the Elysium, Mother H.'s, The Finish, 
Jessop's, etc., were in their zenith and 
glory.' Diprose's Clement Danes, vol. 
i., p. 98. 

' Let us go to a finish say Jessop's '. 
Jessop's finally expired about 1885. It 
was the building afterwards occupied 
by the Echo newspaper. Opposite was 
the celebrated place of accommodation, 
' The Fountain ' significant title, 
which had then/ been established hun- 
dreds of years. 

In 1896, King William Street, 
Strand, saw the opening of a brilliantly- 
appointed lounge entitled ' The Finale', 
assuredly good Italian for finish ; a 
sign the proprietor had brought with 
him from South Africa. 

Fire (out) (0. Eng. ; now Amer. 
reaching Eng. 1896). To eject. Pro- 
bably from 14th century, the phrase 
being invented from the summary pro- 
cess of the first cannon. ' Let us fire 
him ' is equivalent to ' bounce him '. 

Then they thought his objection to the 
spending of 20 on a lecture and its 
necessary or needful accompaniments 
on the interesting and entertaining sub- 
ject of ' Bacteriology ' too much of a 
good thing, so they had him ' fired ' from 
the meeting. E. N., 10th Feb. 1899. 

The Americanism ' to fire out ' is seen 
in a sonnet of Shakespeare's : 
' Yet this shall I not know, nor live in doubt, 

Till my bad angels fire my good one out.' 
This instance shows that in the matter of 
the mother - tongue common to both 
countries, Yankees are even more con- 
servative of the ' well of English ' than 
Britishers themselves. Rees, U.S.A. 

Fire-box (Passionate Pilgrims'). A 
man of unceasing passion. 

Fire-new* (Prov. Potteries'). ' Brand- 
new', absolutely new from drawing 
pottery from the oven or furnace. 

It seems an incongruity, an impossi- 

bility, for the sculptor and painter of 
such forms as those we owe to Watt's 
genius to become suddenly a ' fire-new ' 
baronet. D. N., 1st July 1885, referring 
to offer of baronetcy to Mr Watts. 

Fire-proof coffin (Amer.). A last 
house which will resist the action of 
the nethermost region. Said of a bad 
man that he will need one. 

' My pa says that if your pa would stay 
at home from prayer meetin' to mix a 
little more sugar with the sand he sells 
for fourteen cents a pound, p'raps he 
might not need a fire-proof coffin when 
he dies '. Newsp. Cutting. 

Fire the question (Amer.). To 
propose marriage. 

First on the top-sail and last in 
the beef-skid (Navy). Truly perfect 
able-bodied seaman. More in praise 
could not be said of him. 

Fish-bagger (Suburban). Suburban 
resident who working in the city, or in 
town, generally takes home food, espe- 
cially cheap fish, in that respectable 
black bag which looks so very legal. 

The tradesman shook his head, and 
explained that ' fish-bagger ' was a con- 
tumelious term applied to those who live 
in good suburbs without spending a penny 
there beyond rent. Graphic, 27th Sep- 
tember 1884. 

Fishy about the gills (Street). 
Appearance of recent drunkenness. 
Derived from very acute observation. 
Drink produces a pull-down of the 
corners of the mouth, and a consequent 
squareness of the lower cheeks or gills, 
suggesting the gill -shields in fishes. 

Fit in the arm (Street, 1897). A 
blow. In June 1897 one Tom Kelly 
was given into custody by a woman for 
striking her. His defence before the 
magistrate took the shape of the decla- 
ration that ' a fit had seized him in the 
arm ', and for months afterwards back 
street frequenters called a blow a fit. 

Fit-up towns ( Theat. , 1880). Poor, 
behind-the-times places which cannot 
boast a theatre amongst them. 

Perhaps you don't know what the ' fit- 
up towns ' are. Let me tell you. They 
are the towns which do not possess a 
theatre, and which are therefore only 
visited by small companies carrying port- 
able scenery, which can be fitted up in a 
hall or an assembly room. Ref., 22nd 
July 1883. 

Fitz (Peoples'). Royal natural chil- 
dren derivation obvious. Broadly 


Five-barred Gate 

Flag Unfurled 

applied amongst old theatrical people 
to the invasion of the stage by educated 
persons of position or fortune. 

' I wish all the fitzes in the world were 
at the bottom of the sea.' Said by a 
young stage manager, October 1883. 

Five-barred gate (London Streets, 
1886 on).- -A policeman, from the force 
being chiefly recruited from the agri- 
cultural class. 

The evidence against the defendant, 
given by Constable 308 A, was that whilst 
in company with a woman he abused him 
(the policeman) without reason, asking 
how long he had been away from a ' five- 
barred gate' (the country).!). N., 2nd 
July 1890. 

Five o'clock tea (Soc., 1879). 
Strictly tea, and nothing beyond, 
except a wafer biscuit, a little more 
wafery bread and butter, and perhaps 
a microscopic cake, if it is a society 
holiday. Came to be added first to 
the ordinary refreshmentless call 
between three and five P.M. Five 
o'clock tea has gradually stolen up 
to a four o'clock teapot, for people 
came in a crowd, and the old exclu- 
sive puritanic plan of one visitor 
retreating as another came, or retired, 
even if solus-visiting at the end of a 
quarter of an hour was abandoned. 

Five or seven (Police; London, 
1885). Drunk. From 'five shillings 
or seven days', the ordinary London 
magisterial decision upon ' drunks ' 
unknown to the police, and reduced by 
Mr Hosack, a metropolitan magistrate, 
to five or seven. 

Another is, ' Arthur Eoberts in dress 
allegorical of five or seven, as Mr Hosack.' 
Mr Hosack, as many of my readers may 
not be aware, is a magistrate, and ' five 

or seven' means but no matter. 

Ref., 17th January 1886. 

Fiveoclocquer (Paris-Eng., 1896). 
Afternoon tea. 

Every one, we suppose, has heard of 
the delightful French phrase, ' five- 
oclocquer a quatre heures ', which is, 
perhaps, the noblest achievement of the 
art of word-coining in sublime contempt 
of meaning. Newsp. Cutting, 24th June 

Five - pounders (Jersey). Not a 
piece of ordnance but cheap excur- 
sionists, who fall upon Jersey in high 
summer-time, and who make a stay of 
three or four roaring days, having this 


sum when they start, and nothing by 
the time they reach London. 

The five-pounders are usually of the 
genus 'Arry. They are not unwelcomed 
in Jersey, so long as their five pounds 
last. Graphic, 31st March 1883. 

Fiz (Society). Champagne. 

Pat Feeney has sworn off fiz, and will 
never touch a drop for the rest of his life. 
Not even a drop of whisky. Another 
injustice to Oireland. Cutting, 1883. 

Pat was a patriotic singer of Irish 
songs, and constantly wailing over the 
' green sod ' of his native land. 

Fizzle (out) (Peoples'). To fail, and 
a failure ; from the noise made by the 
gas escaping from aerated waters when 
the corks fail, so that the water has no 
effervescent quality when opened. 

Gale and Spader's ' Fizz-Bang-Boom ' 
company has fizzled out in San Francisco. 
Newsp. Cutting. 

It is a foolish, highly-peppered story of 
love, intrigue and politics. It was little 
better than fizzle. N. Y. Tribune. 

Flabbergast (Briv. Class). To 
astound. Rejected of most lexico- 
graphers, but accepted of all men. 
Probably a proper-name word, possibly 
Phil Applegarth or Applegast. 

The goings on of Cock-Eyed Sal flabber- 
gasted him much, but he was spliced 
to her, and he couldn't help it. Cutting. 

Flag (Printers'). Woeful expression 
referring to an ' out ' ; that is to say, 
some missed words in setting up a 
piece of 'copy'. This may involve 
over-running a number of lines at a 
frightful expense of time. Taken 
from the aspect of the ' out ' words 
written at the side of the proof and 
enclosed in a loop ; a line leading from 
the nearer end of which concludes in 
the caret which marks the point in 
the copy where the missing words are 

Flag of distress (Street). A boy's 
shirt through a too-open trousers-seat. 
From the flag of a distress on a ship 
being white because more easily seen ; 
though perhaps the flag in question is 
only more or less white. 

Flag unfurled (Rhyming). A man 
of the world passing into flag, after 
the mode of rhyming English of a 
passing character. 

A cove who fancies himself a flag 
unfurled is very now or never we don't 
think. Cutting. 


Flash o' Light 

Flam (Soc. 18 cent.). Fib rather 
than lie. Quite passed away from 
London, but still heard in the counties. 
Probably from a proper name. Johnson 
says, ' a cant word of no certain 
etymology '. Words from proper names 
really have no etymology. Butler 
(Hudibras) uses this word : 

A flam more senseless than the 

Of old aruspicy and augury ! 

Miss "Wilhelmina Skeggs (Vicar oj 
Wakefield) is great in the use of this 
term. May be from Flamborough 
Head, whence, in the 17th century, 
came false continental news, exactly 
as ' Humbug ' came to be the term 
applied to continental false news from 

Flannel -jacket (Contractors'). 
Familiar name for the gigantic navvy 
who, without exception, wears this 
garment. Generally pronounced 
' flannin ', flannel being a hard word 
from Wales. Tom Taylor used the 
term in a scene of the Ticket of Leave 
Man. ' Hey - sup (drink) thou dear 
flannin -jacket.' 

Flap -jack invalid (Amer.). A 
victim of dissipation. 

' Keduce the nation to a vast hospital 
of flap-jack invalids.' Texas Siftings. 

Flapper (Lower Class). Hand 
sometimes flipper. Possibly from the 
slapping movement of the hand 
suggesting the striking tail or fins of 
a fish when the word would be an 
onomatope its sound being that of 
the flap of a fish on wet sand or stones. 
Said by some authorities to have a 
very disagreeable meaning. 

Flapper (Society). A very immoral 
young girl in her early ' teens '. 

A correspondent of Notes and Queries 
has been troubling his mind about the 
use of the slang word ' flapper ' as 
applied to young girls. Another corre- 
spondent points out that a 'flapper' is 
a young wild duck which is unable to fly, 
hence a little duck of any description, 
human or otherwise. The answer seems 
at first sight frivolous enough, but it is 
probably the correct solution of this 
interesting problem all the same. 
E. N., 20th August 1892. 

Flare-up (Peoples', 19 cent.). A 
stir, riot, disturbance obviously from 
a house on fire. 

'Flare-up' at the present time is a 
purely jocular interjection. A noisy 
revel is very often spoken of by bac- 
chanalians as ' a jolly flare - up ' ; but 
sixty - three years ago ' flare-up ' had 
another and a very sinister signification. 
To it was added the admonition ' to join 
the Union '. ' Flare-up and join the 
Union ! ' The Union part of the cry is 
associated in my mind with processions 
of working men, yelling and cursing 
and bearing banners embellished with 
death's - heads and cross - bones, and 
inscriptions about ' Bread or Blood ' ; 
while ' flare-up ' had a direct bearing on 
incendiarism. G. A. Sala in D.T., 28th 
July 1894. 

Flash (Thieves'). Imitation gold 
coins the name probably suggested 
by their glitter. Sometimes called 
' Hanoverian ' sovereigns a term 
originating probably upon the accession 
of the House of Brunswick looked 
upon by all true Jacobites as counter- 
feit. The last occasion where these 
terms were in transitory use was at the 
trial (1881) of one Lefroy, for murder. 
The attorney-general, Sir Henry James 
(afterwards Lord James of Hereford), 
prosecuted. In his opening speech he 
said : 

' Precisely similar coins the ' flash ' 
or Hanoverian sovereigns found in the 
carriage, which Lefroy repudiated, etc.' 
Newsp. Cutting. 

Flash (Milit.). A ribbon decoration 
of the 23rd Koyal Welsh Fusiliers. 

It is easy to imagine the indignation 
which would be displayed at any attempt 
to deprive the officers of the 23rd Royal 
Welsh Fusiliers of their right to wear 
what is called ' the Flash '. This orna- 
ment consists of a black ribbon sewed 
on to the back of the tunic-collar, and 
allowed to flutter in the breeze in 
imitation of the tie of the old pig-tail. 
D.N., July 1881. 

Flash (Street). Grand, splendid. 
Evidently derived from strong flash of 

They're so flash that it's a blooming 
wonder they know themselves. Cutting, 

Flash dona (Thieves'). A high- 
class low-class lady. 

' I was always a real lady, as much as 
any flash dona what gets her portrait 
took and then goes on the boards.' 


Flash o' light (New Cut, S. 
London). Complimentary description 

Flat as a Frying-pan 

Fly Member 

of a woman dressed upon the model of 
the rainbow. 

Flat as a frying-pan (Peoples', old). 
Flat indeed. Probably derived from 
the first implement of this kind which 
was level compared with the crocks 
of Elizabethan days. 

' Egad I'm struck as flat as a frying- 
pan '. Farquhar, The Inconstant. 

Flat chicken (Lower Class). Stewed 
tripe. All common foods have fine 
satirical names. 

Flat-foot (Navy}. A young sailor 
less than twenty-one. (See Shellback). 

Flatty (Thieves'). A greenhorn. 
An endearing diminutive of flat, who 
would be more despised than the less 
contemned flatty. 

Flaxation (New Eng.). One of 
the more remarkable American hypo- 
critical evasions of actual swearing. 
Equal to damnation. 

' Then, what in flaxation do you want 
of those things ? ' Newsp. Gutting. 

Fleet (Old Eng.gone to Nantucktt, 
where it stays). To trifle, idle. Heard 
sometimes in mid-counties, e.g., 

' He fleets his life away. Many young 
gentlemen flock to him every day, and 
fleet the time carelessly as they did in 
the golden age.' As You Like It. 

Fleshy part of the thigh (Peoples'., 
1899). Evasive military hospital 
phraseology to describe a wound on 
that part of the human frame which 
'goes over the hedge last'. Came 
into use upon the news from S. Africa 
of Lord Methuen having been wounded 
in this region. 

Flier (Sporting, 19 cent.). A breeder 
of carrier and other homing pigeons. 

' Fliers', a term given to the individuals 
whose sportsmanlike instincts induce 
them to spend considerable time and 
money on the training of homing pigeons. 
D. T. y 17th December 1897. 

Flight o' steps (Coffee - house). 
Thick slices of bread and butter. 
Royal order in relation to steps at 
least four ridge and furrows. 

He asks for a pint of mahogany juice, 
a flight of doorsteps, and a penny 
halligator. Mankind (Surrey Theatre), 

Flimsy (Press). Copy on very thin 
tracing paper. A dozen sheets of 
flimsy are interleaved with as many 

sheets of carbonized or charcoaled paper, 
when by writing heavily in pencil on 
the mass of flimsy, twelve copies are 
obtained. Passed into a verb 
' Flimsy me that par ', means ' make 
half a dozen copies on tracing paper '. 

Had the questions to be copied out ? 
Yes ; and the answers to be flimsied. 
Sir C. Dilke, Crawford Divorce Suit, 
July 1886. 

Fling out or flung away (Peoples'). 
Angry retreat, 

Wardlaw whipped before him and 
flung out of the room. (Charles Keade. ) 

Theodore flung away and was rushing 
off". (Miss Yonge.) 

Flip-flap (Street boy, 1898 on). 
Broad fringe of hair covering the 
young male forehead. This fashion, 
revived from the time of George IV., 
began with the quiff (q.v.), expanded 
to the guiver, and widened to the 
flip-flap, a name evidently gained from 
its motion in the winds. 

Flop (Low Lond., 1881). When 
the lower classes of women adopted 
the ' cretin ' or ' poodle ' style of 
wearing the hair low down over the 
forehead, they gave it this name. 

Flounce (Theatrical and Society, 
1854 on). The thick line of black 
paint put on the edge of the lower 
eyelid to enhance the effect of the eye 
itself. When under the second empire 
painting the face (see Mind the paint), 
became common, this term came to be 
heard in society. 

Fluff in (Lower Peoples'). Deceive 
by smooth modes. 

Fly cop (Anglo-Amer.). Detective 
(see Tec). Cop is abbreviation of 
copper (q.v.). Fly is quite an old 
word for adroit. 

Fly donah (Street). Adroit lady 
not perhaps too honest. 

Fly loo (Student, 1850). Summer 
game. The players stand round a 
table, each having a lump of sugar or 
touch of honey well before him. The 
owner of the sweets upon which a fly 
first settles takes the stakes. (See 
Kentucky Loo.) 

Fly me (Ancient). Exclamation 
against mistrust or doubt. From flay. 

Fly member (Com. Peo.). Clever, 
adroit man fly being used to give the 
idea of speed in apprehending, and 


Fly Rink 


lighting on what passes. (See Hot 
member. ) 

Fly rink (Peoples', 1875). A 
polished bald head. 

Flying: the kite (Soc.). Making 
public in the 90's. Earlier in the 
century it was issuing accommodation 
bills. Now, however, it has the other 
meaning, as 

He would be very sorry to do entirely 
without the interview, and politicians 
were said to use it as a means of ' flying 
the kite'. Anthony Hope, April 1898. 

Foal and filly dance (Soc.). 
Dance to which only very young 
people of both sexes are invited. 

Fog in (Soc.). To see a place by 
chance, or to achieve by accident. 

Foot I foot ! Now and again this 
expression is cast after the respectably 
dressed person who wanders into 
strange and doubtful bye-ways. Phrase 
obtained much attention by its use by 
Emile Zola in L'Assommoir, where it is 
found even in the mouth of a priest. 
It is difficult to say when this term 
passed into England. The word is to 
be found as 'foutre' in Shakespeare 
(Henry VI.). Probably reintroduced 
into England by the French court of 
Charles II. 

Foot-and-mouth disease (Lanca- 
shire). Swearing followed by kicking. 

Foot-bath (European. ) Overflow 
from glass into saucer. Said in 
England of a full glass. 

It is customary throughout Spain for 
the waiters of cafe's to fill a glass with 
wine or liquor so that it overflows upon 
the saucer. This custom, in which it 
is desired to show an appearance of 
liberality, is called 'the foot-bath'. 
People, 28th July 1895. 

Foot - rot (Public - house). Con- 
temptuous name given by the con- 
temn ers of fourpenny ale. (See Brown. ) 

Footless stocking without a leg. 

(Irish). Nothing zero. (See What 
the Connaught man shot at.) 

Fopper (Parvenus 1 ). Mistake. Per- 
version of ' faux pas '. In its extreme 
application an ' event ', if you accept 
the word's Latin meaning. Equi- 
valent to what the French call brise 
du soir. 

Forcing the hand (Soc.). Compel 
admissions. From whist, where to 

force the hand of an adversary is to 
play high in order to compel him to 
play higher. Much used by lawyers 
always great whist-players. 

Sir C. Warren agreed with the assessor 
that it was hardly fair to put a question 
of this character. 

Mr Wontner observed that it was 
forcing his hand. Gass Case, July 1887. 

Fore God (American). Shape of 
old English oath ' Before God, I 
swear. ' 

Foreign line (Railway). Any line 
which is not that on which the speaker 
is employed. 

Foreigneering coves (Low London, 
1860). Most graphic description of 
dislike to others than British that 
has perhaps been invented. 

We have no passion for ribbons, and 
orders, and all the tinsel trappings of 
aliens or 'foreigneering coves', as they 
are termed in the simple language of 
' Those in the Know '. D. N., 1883. 

Foreigner (Negro). Elegant evasive 
title given by negroes to describe 
themselves, in order to avoid the 
hated word black. 

Forest of fools (Literary. 17 cent.). 
The World. 

Amongst all the wild men that run up 
and down in this wide Forest of Fools, 
etc. Decker's Gull's Horn-Book, 1609. 

Forever - gentleman ( Soc. , 1870). 
A man in whom good breeding is in- 
grained. (See Half Hour Gentleman.) 

Forrader (Soc., 1880 on). For- 
warder adopted from the gutter, one 
night, in the House of Commons. 
Used in many jocular ways. 

Whether the Liberal Forwards will get 
any ' forrarder ' over the light claret 
which we have no doubt is all that they 
can conscientiously allow themselves 
remains to be seen. D. T., 15th 
December 1898. 

Fortnum and Mason (Soc., 1850 
on). Complete, luxurious hamper for 
picnic or races. From the perfection 
of the eatables sent out by this firm of 
grocers in Piccadilly. 

49ers ( W. - American). Earliest 
Californian miners from the year in 
which the movement to California 

Forum (Birmingham). The 
' Forum ' is the Town Hall, and known 



by that name through all Warwick- 

Earl Granville, who was received with 
most enthusiastic cheers, said : I rise a 
stranger in this famous Town Hall 
(cries of ' No ') known in Birmingham, 
I believe, by a still more classical name. 
Bright Celebration (B'rgham), June 

Forwards (Polit., 1897). Radicals 
last cry of the 19th century in 
discovering a new name for the 
advanced sections in the House of 

Sir Charles Dilke leads a knot of 
Radical 'forwards' on questions of 
foreign affairs, whose views are, pro- 
bably, at least as distasteful to the 
leader of the Opposition as the policy 
of Lord Salisbury.!). T., 21st June 

Foundling temper (London). A 
very bad temper proverbially said of 
the domestic servants poured upon 
London by the metropolitan Foundling 

The ladies who are conducting the 
Metropolitan Association for Befriending 
Young Servants are perpetually thwarted 
and discouraged by the singular in- 
capacity for self-control of the girls who 
have been bred in the great pauper 
schools. Their chief characteristic is an 
ungovernable temper. This is popularly 
recognised as the ' Foundling temper'. 
D. N., 9th September 1885. 

Foundry (Peoples'}. Shop, but 
chiefly applied to a pork butcher's 
probably because of the noisy vibra- 
tion of the sausage machine. 

Fountain temples (London, 90's). 
Places of convenience, sunk below the 
roadways. Remarkable for lavish 
marble, mosaic, and clear running 
water. (See Cottages.) 

Four arf (Costers'). The coster- 
monger's favourite beverage is a pot 
o' four arf. 

Four -legged fortune (Soc. t 1880 
on). Winning horse. 

They talk Turf slang ; they back ' four- 
legged fortunes ', and his lordship owns 
a steed which brings him to utter grief. 
D.T., 22nd April 1898. 

Four liner (Soc.). Very important. 
From 'whips' or messages to M.P.'s, 
which have from one to four lines 
drawn under them, according to 

Four-lined whips have been sent out 

on both sides of the House of Commons 
urging members to be in their places 
this evening. D. N., March 1890. 

Four thick (Public-house). Four- 
pence per quart beer the commonest 
there is (in London), and generally 
the muddiest. 

Fourpenny cannon (London 
Slums). Beef-steak pudding price, a 
groat. Named possibly from its shape, 
that of a cannon-ball (cut down to 
cannon), but possibly referring to the 
cast-iron character not only of the beef, 
but its integument. 

Fourpenny pit (Rhyming). Four- 
penny bit now antiquarian phrase 
since this silver coin has been 
absolutely withdrawn in favour of the 
threepenny bit. 

Foxes (American). People of 
Maine probably owing to the foxes 
which prevail there. 

Frame (Artists', 1890). Picture. 

Franc -fileur (French, 1870). A 
cur, a freebolter in contradistinction 
from franc-tireur, the volunteer light 
infantry of the defence. Used now 
and again in England in society for 
a man who gets away quietly and 
won't dance. 

Freak (Theatrical, 1885). Actors 
who lose professional cast by aiding in 
eccentric shows. From New York. 

Actors who play in dime museums are 
now called 'freaks'. Mef., 18th April 

Freakeries (London, 1898). 
Barnum's freak and acrobat shows at 

Free (Peoples' and School). To 
make free. Process never of a very 
elegant kind especially amongst 
school - boys. Expectoration enters 
into the process as a rule. (See 

Free hand (Political, about 1880). 
Plenary powers, carte blanche. 

General Gordon has been given, if we 
must use a detestable piece of slang a 
'free hand'. In plainer and better 
English he has been allowed to do as 
he pleased. D. N., 5th May 1884. 

French (S. of N. Amer. Soc.). 
Term used in Maryland and Virginia 
for any fashion that is disliked. 
Probably from 18th century when the 
people of these states very much 



Fruit of a Gibbet 

disliked the French population of 

Frenchman (Soc., 19 cent.). Bottle 
of brandy from this spirit being 

Frenchy (Street, 19 cent., to 1854). 
A term of contempt addressed to any 
man with a foreign air in the streets. 

Fresh -whites (Peoples', 19 cent.). 

Freshers and toshers (Oxford, 
1896). Freshers despised as freshmen, 
and toshers beiog men who have no 
sympathy with the Church. Com- 
bined term of contempt. 

Fretted (American). Vexed to do 
a thing. 

Friars (L. G. and D. Railway 
passengers', 1860). Hurried short for 

Friction (Polit., 1885). New 
satirical term for political or inter- 
national quarrel. 

The letter from Lord Granville which 
Lord Edmund Fitzmaurice read in the 
House of Commons contained an expres- 
sion of Lord Granville's hope that the 
' friction ' with Germany may now be 
considered a thing of the past. D. N., 
10th March 1885. 

Fried carpets (London Theatrical, 
1878-82). Given to the exceedingly 
short ballet skirt, then especially seen 
at the old ' Gaiety'. 

Friendly pannikin (Australian 
gold - fields). An amicable drink 
together out of the small tin pot 
one which serves the outlying Aus- 
tralian for most purposes. 

Fright hair (Theatrical). A wig 
or portion of a wig which by a string 
can be made to stand on end and 
express fright. 

Frisk at the tables (London). A 
moderate touch at gaming. 

My object is fulfilled if I have made it 
clear that ' a frisk at the tables ' is now 
rendered easy to Londoners, and that 
those wishing to enjoy one have but to 
attend the first well-managed sporting 
meeting, to receive encouragement and 
respectful protection at the hands of the 
police. G. A. Sala. 

Frisky (Com. London, 1880). Bad- 
tempered, and a euphemism for the 

Frivoller (Soc., 1879 on). Person 


with no serious aim in life. Sub- 
stantive derived from Lord Beacons- 
field's celebrated phrase 'hair-brained 
frivolity '. 

'Junius' contains plenty of fine 
stirring lines, even if they awake no 
more than an occasional echo in the 
bosoms of the cynical 'frivollers' who 
exclusively occupy ' the best parts ' at all 
our theatres. Kef., 1st March 1885. 

Frochard (Theatrical, about 1870). 
Savage old woman part from the 
demon-hag in Les Deux Orphelines. 

Augustin Daly's Under the Gaslight 
was more or less a ' bobtail ' piece, and 
thoroughly American in tone. We had 
a New York blood ; a low-comedy 
character called Bermudas ; a ' side-walk 
merchant prince, with a banjo swarry ' ; 
a Wall Street dealer ; a judge of the 
Tombs Police Court ; and a vile 
Frochard sort of person called Old 
Judas. D. T., 9th June 1899. 

Froncey (Low. Land., 19 cent.). 
Fran9ais protest in the interests of 
things English and of England. 

Front (Soc., 1888). Audacity- 
from the forehead, pushing forward. 
Equals affront. 

There is another rendering of the word 
'front' in use among some clever folk, 
but I wouldn't for the world suggest that 
the promoters have any of that to say 
nothing of 420 ft. of it. Ref., 9th March 

Front name (Universal Street, 19 
cent.). Christian name, and always 
considered as the cognomen. 

Front piece (Theatrical, 1880). 
Dramatic trifle which precedes the 
piece de resistance. 

The new front piece, Written in Sand, 
turned out to be a pretty little idyllic 
affair. Ref., 31st August 1884. 

Frosy (Devonshire). A delicacy in 
food eaten quietly by not more than 
two, after the children are in bed the 
couple generally man and wife. 

Froze out (Amer.-Eng., 1880-96). 
Conquered, made the other a 

Fruit of a gibbet (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
Hanged felon. The gibbet, as distinct 
from the gallows, was the frame upon 
which the hanged man was swung in 

I found thee a complete emblem of 
poverty, resembling the fruit of a gibbet 
seven years exposed to wind and weather 
Gay's Beggars' Opera. 



Frump (Soc. t 1871 on). High cut 
bodice. When the second French 
Empire fell (1870), the low-cut bodice, 
which the Court of the Tuileries had 
maintained for eighteen years, was 
swept away. London society led with 
the high, and afterwards the square 
cut bodice, which still very generally 
prevails. Young men in society at 
once dubbed the high bodice 
patroness a ' frump ' a badly dressed 

Full as a goat (Tavern, 18 cent.). 
Drunk. This phrase is evidently ' Full 
as a goitre', the word often used for 
the huge throat wen which, common 
in the last century, is now rarely seen. 
The word having no distinct modern 
meaning, has been naturally changed 
to goat. The idea of fulness is com- 
plete in contemplating a huge goitre, 
which always looks upon the point of 

. . . New Arrival 'I want a bed.' 
Clerk : ' Can't have one, sir ; they're all 
full.' N. A. : 'Then I'll sleep with the 
landlord.' Clerk: 'Can't do it, sir. 
He's full, too ; fuller than a goat, and 
has been for three days.' N. Y. 
Mercury, 1888. 

Function (Soc., 1880 on). First 
used for grave musical performances ; 
but the aesthetes began to apply the 
word to all kinds of meetings even 
afternoon teas. 

The drenching showers of Thursday 
night in no way damped the ardour of 
Haymarket reopeners. The ceremony 
was, in its way, almost a function. Jief., 
18th September 1887. 

Fury (Navy). Crew's name for the 

Fuss (Anglo-American, 19 cent.). 
Dispute, row, wrangle, without any 
serious consequences. 

Fuss and feathers (Amer.-Eng., 
1880). Bosh, pretence, froth. Prob- 
ably from 18th century English ; 
and referring to cock-fighting where 
the birds only pulled feather and 

Well, as an American critic says of the 
notions of the solar mythologists, this 
was 'all fuss and feathers'. D. 2?., 
10th February 1898. 

Fuz-chats (Beggars'). The people 
who camp out on commons amongst 
the ' furze '. Generally show-people, 
and gipsy cheap-jacks, also gipsies 

G. O. M. (Political Popular, 1882). 
Grand Old Man. In this year Mr W. 
E. Gladstone, when Premier, was de- 
scribed in this way. The satirical 
journals took up the phrase, and 
reduced it to initials. 

I knocked the G. 0. M. down, North- 
cote sat on his head, and he gave in. 
Ref., 7th December 1884. 

G. T. T. (New York). Gone to 
Texas. Confession of flight put on 
office door. 

Gads O](Hist.). Evaded swearing. 
Equals God s oath probably refers to 
the promises made to the patriarchs. 

Gadsbud (Queen Anne). God's 
blood, or God's bud, meaning the 
Infant Saviour. Another shape is 
Od's Bud (q.v.), ' Gadsbud ! I am pro- 
voked into a fermentation.' Congreve, 
The Double Dealer. 

Gaelically utter (Soc. ). The Scotch 
accent when trying to produce English. 

' West of England ! ' cried a supporter 
of the majority, in an accent too Gaeli- 
cally utter for London ink to reproduce. 
' I don't believe there are any solicitors 
in the West of England. Only a set of 
clerks.' S. T., 1st February 1883. 

Gaiety girls (Stage, 1890 on). 
Dashing singing and dancing come- 
dians in variety pieces from their 
first gaining attention at the Gaiety 

One of the most interesting features of 
the Nellie Farren benefit is the promised 
re-appearance of Miss Marion Hood, one 
of the brightest and most graceful of 
' Gaiety ' girls. People, 27th February 

Gaiety step (Theat., 1888-92). A 
quick, high dancing pas, made popular 
at the Gaiety Theatre. Term spread 
to America. 

Galbe (Thieves'). Profile of a vio- 
lent character, and even applied to any 
eccentricity of shape above the knees. 
This is from the French, and doubt- 
lessly came into fashion at the Court 
of Charles II. The word is one of the 
proper-name series, and comes from 
the Emperor Galba, who lived long in 
Gaul, where his pronounced profile and 



General Backacher 

terrific nose begot the word. Galbe is 
used daily all over France, but espe- 
cially in Paris. " Quel Galbe." 

Gallersgood (Thieves', 18 cent.). 
Corruption of gallows' good. So bad 
that it is worthy of the gallows. 

Gally-pot baronet (Soc. t 19 cent.). 
Ennobled physician outcome of the 
scorn of birth for even the scientific 

Gal-sneaker ( Co mmonLond., 1870). 
A man devoted to seduction. 

Gambetter (International, 1879). 
To humbug 'Don't you try to Gam 
Better me!' From Gambetta, of 
Italian and Jewish origin, who was 
very popular in France from 1870 to 
about 1876, when politicians began to 
suspect his sincerity. In 1879 his 
popularity was rapidly waning. In 
this year the verb in question was 
invented. It is still used in French 
politics when accusing an opponent of 

Gamblous (Soc., 1885). Gambling 
invented by Mr J. Chamberlain. 
(29th April 1885. Speech at dinner of 
the Eighty Club.) 

I suppose Lord Salisbury thinks that 
if this country only blustered enough we 
might attain all that we desired from the 
fears of foreign Powers. There is some- 
thing to be said for the game of brag, 
but in this case the stakes are so high, 
the risk so great, that I do not believe 
that any sensible men will commit their 
fortunes to a party or a statesman who 
would run such tremendous hazards in 
such a gamblous spirit. 

Gander (London, 1815-40). Fop. 
It is a perversion of Gandin, the 
Parisian description of a fop from the 
Restoration to the '40's. 

Ganymede ( University). Freshman , 
or man in his second or even third 
year, of an effeminate tendency. 

Gaperies, The (London, 1902). 
The very last outcome of entertain- 
ments ending in ' ies ' (see Colindiries, 
etc. ) It is simply a rendering of ' Gay 
Paris '. 

Garbage (Naval). Clothes, etc. 
probably from the appearance of a box 
of clothes waiting the wash. 

Garbed (American ; passing to 
Eng.). Full - dressed. Would appear 
to be an intensification of the ordinary 
use of the word dressed. 

Garret (Hatters', 19 cent.). A con- 
sultation of the members of a shop 
in relation to some trade or social 
difficulty of the moment. 

Garret (Street, 19 cent.). Mouth- 
probably suggested by the mouth 
being high up in relation to all the 

Gas-pipes (Street). Name given to 
trousers when tight. In France when 
fashion causes the hem of the trouser 
to widen out, this style is called pied 
d'elephant, to which it has a fair 

Gaul darned (American). Modern 
opposition to too plain bad languagb 
' God damned '. 

Gawblimy (Street, 1870). Cease- 
less apostrophe by the lower orders to 
heaven, in reference to some declara- 
tion. This is 'Gaw Bli Me'. Gaw 
from the street shape of the word 
God ' this shape being Gawd, ' bli ' 
an ellipsis, and ' me '. 

Gawd forgive him the prayers he 
said (Peoples'). Evasion of saying the 
sinner swore consummately. 

Gaze at the melody (American). 
Look a thing in the face. Another 
form of ' Face the music '. 

Gee - gees (Infantry}. Cavalry. 
This term, from the nursery, for a 
horse is directed at the cavalry by 
the infants. (See Coldcreams, Porridge 
pots, Grinning dears, Muck. ) 

Gee-ru (American, 1880). Exten- 
sion of amazement. The ' Ge ' is for 
Jerusalem, a word once much used ; 
accent on first syllable and on second. 
Often used, ' Je you don't say so ! ' 

General (Com. Life). Chandler's 
shop where everything may be 

General (Mid. - class, 1880 on). 
Maid of all work. 

That the race of generals threatens to 
become extinct is a proposition which is 
not really so startling as it sounds at 
first. D. T., 18th January 1898. 

General (Middle - class, 19 cent.} 
Shilling. ' Can you generalise ? ' A 
delicate mode of saying ' Can you loan 
me a shilling ? ' 

General Backacher (Military, 
1899). General Gatacher modula- 
tion of his name to designate this 
soldier's love of hard-working his 
men. (See Bobs.) 



Get up Early 

Genitrave (Peoples', Hist.) 
Farthing or smallest coin. Was 
in use before maravedi, which pro- 
bably came to England with Philip 
of Spain. 

Gentleman (Liverpool). There are 
no men in Liverpool ; all are gentlemen. 

Gentleman in blue (London, 1840). 
One of the satirical names for police- 

Gentleman super (Theatrical 
about 1884). A theatre-super of some 
position or standing the ordinary 
super being a person of no standing 
whatever beyond earning about a 
shilling or two per evening. In 1884 
Mr Wilson Barrett (Princess's Theatre) 
invented the gentleman super with a 
view to creating a school of actors, 
who began on the lowest rung of the 
ladder. Their price was about twelve 
to fifteen shillings per week. 

Gentleman who pays the rent, 
The (Irish peasantry, 19 cent.). Pig 
Milesian variety. Origin obvious. 

The Irish pig, the gentleman who pays 
the Irish rent, if not exactly a willing 
immigrant into this country, has always 
proved a quiet one after his arrival. He 
has generally been cured before leaving 
home. D. T., 17th December 1897. 

Gentlemen of the long robe 
(Historical). Term applied by warriors 
who wore short tunics, satirically to 
designate mere lawyers, who waged 
wars with but words. 

George (Military, 1880-96). The 
Commander-in- Chief, George, Duke of 
Cambridge. Good evidence of the 
duke's popularity, which never waned 
to the moment he resigned the 

Georgium Sidus (Soc.). The 
Netherlands figuratively speaking. 
The Surrey side of the Styx. 

Geranium (Street, 1882). Red nose. 

German gospel (Peoples', November 
1897). Bounce, vain boasting, mega- 
lomania. From a phrase addressed 
in this month by Prince Henry of 
Prussia to his brother of Germany at 
a dinner : ' The gospel that emanates 
from your Majesty's sacred person, etc.' 

Get away closer (Coster, Hist.). 
Invitation to yet more pronounced 

Get curly (Tailors'). Troublesome. 

Get fits (Peoples'). Vce victis 
suffer rage from being conquered ; 
impatient under defeat. Generally 
' git fits '. 

Get in (Low London, 19 cent.). 
Victoriously strike. 

And then you goes and gets in both 
fists one, two, three afore I knew 
where I was. Then o' course I ups and 
gives you a one-er, and off I goes. 
D. T., 18th October 1897. 

Get inside and pull the blinds 
down (Low London, 19 cent.). Gross 
verbal attack delivered on the high- 
way at a poor rider. 

Get it down the neck (Lower 
Peoples'). To swallow. 

Get left (Anglo- Amer.). Abbre- 
viation of ' in the lurch '. 

Get outside (Street). Swallow. 

Get religion (Peoples'). Become 

Get the drop (Amer.-Eng.). Out- 
come of the use of the revolver in 
U.S.A. The muzzle of the revolver is 
dropped down to the aim from a higher 
level hence the term, which means to 
obtain victory. 

Get the g. b. (Amer.). Dismissal 
g. b. being ' go by '. 

' Won't he feel cheap when he gets the 
g. b. ?' 

Get the heels on it (Amer.-Eng.). 
Victory, success from the American 
habit (rapidly passing away) of resting 
the heels, when their proprietor is 
seated, on a level with his head, if not 
above it. 

Get the shillings ready (Street, 
1897). Be prepared to ladle out 
money. From the rush of charity 
which characterised the sixtieth year of 
Queen Victoria's reign, and especially 
referring to the Daily Telegraph shill- 
ings charity lists towards the fund for 
the payment of the debts of the London 

Get the shoot (Peoples'). Dismissal 
probably from the mill shoot turning 
out the flour. 

Get the spike (Low London). Lose 
one's temper. 

'0' course Chris git's the spike!' 
People, 5th January 1895. 

Get to onest (Amer.). Retire im- 
Get up early (Street). Be clever. 


Get up Steam 

Ginger Blue 

Get up steam (Peoples', 1840 on). 
Be energetic. Outcome of the initia- 
tion of the railway system. Even 
George Eliot, who hated anything 
approaching slang, used this phrase so 
early as 1846. 

' I do not know whether I can get up 
any steam again on the subject of Quinet 
but I will try.' George Eliot's Life, 
vol. i., p. 150. 

Get your eye in a sling (Peoples'}. 
Warning that you may receive a 
sudden and early black eye, calling 
for a bandage the sling in question. 

Getting a big boy now (London). 
Of age. The line was the leading 
phrase of the refrain of a song made 
popular by Herbert Campbell. It is 
applied satirically to strong lusty 
young fellows about whose manhood 
there can be little or no question. 

Getting all over a man (L. Life, 
19 cent.). Handling and examining 
him not necessarily for theft, but in 
all probability feloniously. 

The only reason witness could give for 
the attack was that a few days previously 
he prevented Eegan ' getting all over a 
strange man ' whom he had brought into 
the lodging-house. D. T., 8th October 

Getting before oneself (Peoples'). 
Personal emphasis of any kind of 
vanity, boastfulness, threat, anger. 

Getting behind yourself (Peoples', 
19 cent.). Lapse of memory in refer- 
ence to events. 

Getting it down fine (American, 
1880). Successful by adroitness. 

Getting it down fine on burglars. It 
is getting so that even burglars are 
seriously interfered with in the practice 
of their professions. A recent invention, 
etc. Albany Argus, 1883. 

Getting ox-tail soup (1867-83). 
Refers to the maiming of cattle, 
exercised by Fenians and other dis- 
affected Irish, against the property of 
cattle-owners who displeased them. 

In Ireland there have been no experi- 
ments at all, for the cutting off the tails 
of living cattle 'getting ox-tail soup', 
as some Irish facetiously styled this 
practice is not a scientific experiment. 
D. N., 7th June 1883. 

Good example of historical phrase. 

Giants (Restaurant). Huge 

I was startled by hearing the player 

call the waiter and order, as he pointed 
to the carte, ' Two Giants'. I arrived at 
a solution of the mystery when presently 
I saw the gourmands devouring ' giant ' 
asparagus. Ref., 1882. 

Gibby (Navy). Spoon. 

Giddy young whelp (London, 
1896). Youth about town. Rather 
contemptuous. Sometimes giddy 
young whelk pronounced Wilk. 
Giddy kipper was the first develop- 
mentfrom probably giddy skipper. 

Gigglemug (Street}. An habitually 
smiling face. 

Gigmanity (Soc.). People who 
keep gigs therefore respectable. 
Took its rise from the trial of one 
Thurtell for the murder of a Mr 
Weare, as to whom it was asked by 
counsel of a witness : ' Was Weare 
a respectable man ? ' the answer being 
' Yes he kept a gig '. 

Gilt on the gingerbread (Peoples' 
almost obsolete). The past - away 
annual rural fairs were made ghastly 
gay with flat gingerbread cakes, 
covered with Dutch metal, which 
tried to look like gilt. 

Gin and fog (Theatrical). Peculiar 
hoarseness, generally believed to be 
caused by the abuse of alcohol. 

Dr Lennox Brown has been delivering 
an interesting lecture on the effects of 
alcohol on the voice. There is a broken- 
down voice known in the profession as 
'the gin and fog'. G. R. Sims, Ref., 
llth January 1886. 

Gin bottle (Street). Dirty, abandoned, 
flabby, debased woman, generally over 
thirty, the victim of alcoholic abuse, 
within an ace of inevitable death. 

Gin crawl (London, Fleet St. and 
Strand). Beaten street tracks haunted 
by drunken or broken down literary 
men, journalists, reporters, and inferior 
actors out of employ. 

Phil Benjamin was taking his daily 
constitutional, which consisted in what 
is called ' a gin crawl ' in this instance 
between Drury Lane and Covent Garden. 
Bird o' Freedom, 7th March 1883. 

Gin - sling (Public-house, 19 cent.). 
Practically cold gin-punch. Generally 
supposed to come from U.S.A., and 
named thus from slinging the mixture 
from glass to glass. 

Ginger blue (Amer.-Eng., 1855). 
Exclamation protesting againstcaddish - 
ness. Ginger was applied on the 


Girl of the Period 

Go In 

plantations of S. U.S.A. to over -eager 
negroes. Blue was added as a satirical 
reference to blue blood. 

Girl of the period (Soc., 1880 on). 
Term invented by Mrs Lynn Linton 
in a series of articles in The Saturday 
Review, attacking the self-emancipa- 
tion of the young lady of this 

After Naseby, by Mr Briton Riviere. 
The reader, even if he has not visited 
the Academy, can imagine for himself 
the young lady of the period, bowed 
down with grief, and holding the fatal 
letter, below a tall window of the 
Royalist hall. D. N., Academy Grit. 

Git a bit (L. London). May refer 
to woman, but generally means obtain- 
ing money. 

On the day this 'ere job came off Chris 
comes around to me and says : ' I 'aint 
going to work to-day ; you had better 
come out and see if we can't get a bit. 
People, 6th January 1895. 

Git the ambulance (Street, 1897). 
Declaration of incapacity, generally of 
a drunken character, cast at the 
sufferer. Took the place of 'git the 
stretcher' which was (and is) main- 
tained by the police. Took its rise 
from the introduction amongst civilians 
of ambulance service. 

Git the sads (Peoples'). Vulgar 
synonym for 'to have the vapours'. 
(See Smokes). 

Give a lift (Amer.-Eng.). A sharp 
quick kick. 

Give it hot (L. Life). Severe 

Remember, remember, 
Next month of November, 

The boycotting, treason, and plot 
For condoning this treason 
(To win votes the reason) 

We'll give it Lord Salisbury hot ! 

Ref., 18th October 1885. 

Give the crock (Peoples'). Yield- 
ing victory the crock must have been 

u g- 
I ha 

ve been making a long calculation, 
and I find that this sum will only just 
cover ex.'s, so I am simply giving you 
the crock. Our Boys, No. 2, December 

Give away the racket (American). 
Unintentionally to reveal. 

Give him rope enough (Old 
English). This phrase is abbreviated 
from the addition, ' and he'll hang 

Give way to booze (Street). Mode 
of describing habits of drinking. 

Give it a drink ( Theatre and Music- 
hall, 1897). Fin de sttcle shape of 
condemnation conferred upon a bad 
piece, or some poor turn at the music 

Give out (American). End finish ; 
from a mine giving out as to ore. 

Give way (Ladies', 19 cent.). 
Weep, break down, resolve in tears. 

Unhappily the infection appeared to 
extend its influence even to Mr Barry- 
more, who, when Mr Forbes-Robertson 
was preparing to bring the scene to a 
close by 'taking the measure of an 
unmade grave ', had begun to exhibit in 
his turn an alarming tendency to ' give 
way', as the ladies say. D. N., llth 
November 1882. 

Give the shake (American). 
Abbreviation of shaking hands upon 

Give us a rest (American, 1882). 
A figurative way of asking a long 
talker to curtail his sermon. 

Give him a rolling for his all 
over (Street). Corruption of give him 
a Roland for his Oliver. 

Giving one. The one here 
mentioned may be a kiss or a blow. 

Glim (Thieves'). Candle. 

Glory-oh (Navy). Name given by 
the crew to the Glory. 

Glory hole (Street). One of the 
names found for the places of meeting 
of the Salvationists in their early 

The ' Glory Hole ' Disturbances at 
Maidstone: The 'Glory Hole' disturb- 
ances were continued last night at 
Maidstone. D. N., 24th October 1887. 

Glow (Com. Class). Blush. 

Go and eat coke (Back Street). 
Direction implying contempt. 

Go around (American). Drift ; go 
with current in life ; live thought- 

Go-away (Soc., 1886). The dress 
into which a bride passes before she 
departs with her husband. 

Go close (Sporting Anglo- American). 
To the winning post. Abbreviation. 

Go down one (Com. London). To 
be vanquished. 

Go in (Peoples'). Act with absolute 
vigour. ' Go in and win ' is the best 


Go Off 


known of the applications of this 

The person who jumped on the com- 
munion table at St Paul's Cathedral 
the other day, pulling down the crucifix, 
knocking over the flowers and other 
adornments, may be said to have had 
a very inexpensive 'go in'. He had 
been fined 5. Entr'acte, April 1883. 

Go off (Theatrical}. Go off the 

Go off (Soc. ). Not to take place. 

Mr Matthews: 'There is something 
cut out of the diary ? ' ' That was an 
engagement that went off.' ' Whenever 
an engagement goes off you cut it out ? ' 
'Yes.' 'What do you mean by an 
engagement going off ? ' ' When a 
person says he will call and does not, I 
cut it out.' Sir C. Dilke, Crawford 
Divorce Suit, July 1886. 

Go on the aeger (Oxford). Signs 
the sick-list. 

If a man is ill, or thinks he is the 
will often being father to the thought 
he 'goes on the seger' that is to say, 
he puts his name down on the sick-list 
and obtains the luxury of a hot dinner 
in his rooms./). T., 14th August 1899. 

Go on tick (Hist.), Credit short 
for ticket. Fallen very low in the 

This phrase is derived from the French 
word 'Etiquet,' a little note, breviate or 
best i.e., a ticket or note being made 
or taken instead of payment ; con- 
sequently, to go on trust or credit. 
" We'll play on tick, and lose the Indies ; 
I'll discharge it all to-morrow. " Dryden, 
An Evening's Love. 

Go on with the funeral (American). 
Continue the ceremony. 

Go out foreign (Thieves'). To 
emigrate under shady circumstances. 

Go one better (American). 
Superiority from a term at 'poker', 
or 'brag'. 

The merry Duchess can see the late 
Mrs Lydia Pinkham, and go her one 
better. jy. York Puck, September 1883. 

Go solid (American- Eng., 1884). 

The Irish Nationalist vote, whatever 
it may amount to, will, in American 
phraseology, 'go solid', against the 
Liberal party. D. N., 10th Sept. 1885. 

Go to Hanover (Jacobite, 18 cent.). 
Paraphrase of ' Go to Hell 'Hanover 
being quite on a par with the hotter 
place in the opinion of the Jacobites. 

Go to bed (Printers', 1860-80). 
Phrase used by printers in reference to 
printing a newspaper on the bed of the 

Go to Hell or Connaught (Hist.). 
Be off. From the time of Cromwell, 
but still heard, especially in Protestant 
Ireland. Means utter repudiation of 
the person addressed. The Parliament 
(1653-54) passed a law, driving away 
all the people of Ireland who owned 
any land, out of Ulster, Munster, and 

Go to sleep (American- English). 
Fail, expire, come to an end, now 
generally accepted ; but in the fiist 
place used as to wandering theatrical 
and other amusements companies about 
the U.S. A. 

Go up (Oxford and Cambridge). To 
go, academically, to one 'Varsity or the 

Wiclif went up to Oxford between 
1335 and 1340. Balliol was his college 
naturally, as he was a North Country- 
man. D. N., 30th December 1884. 

(See Go down). 

Go up (Theatrical). The action of 
going up the stage that is to the 
back boards of that platform. (See Go 
off, Come on). 

Go up one (Peoples'). Applause. 
Derived from the school class the 
scholar going one nearer the top as he 
goes up one. 

Go-aheaditiveness (Amer.) Suc- 

Go-between, The (Holborn, W.C., 
1897). St Alban's Church, Holborn. 
This high church used to be called 
' Machonichie's ' from the name of its 
first spiritual director, who, dying in the 
snows of Scotland, was succeeded by 
Father Stan ton, when the church came 
to be called ' Stanton's '. It acquired 
the title here given from a police-court 

Mr Horace Smith : What is your re- 
ligion ? 

The Woman : Well, my boy was chris- 
tened at St Alban's, Holborn. 

Mr Carr (second clerk) : Is that Church 
of England ? 

The Woman : I don't know. You 
ought to know ; you're more learned 
than me. 

Mr H. Smith : Is it a Roman Catholic 
Church ? 

Th Woman: Well, it's between the 
two. It ain't Roman Catholic, and yet 

Go ivithout Passport 

Gold Hunters 

it's very High. It's a go-between. 
D. T., 5th February 1897. 

Go without passport (Amer. 
1860). Commit suicide. 

Go wrong (Soc., 1870). Antithesis 
of prosper. 

Goes Fanti (Scientific, 19 cent.). 
Tendency to return to primitive life- 

Another sort of man simply 'goes 
Fanti,' like the Rev. John Greedy, M. A., 
Oxon, and reverts to savagery. D. N., 
25th August 1887. 

Going 'ome (L. Class). Dying. 

Going into laager (Colonial, pass- 
ing to England). Taking precau- 
tions against danger. From S. Africa, 
where the farmers in a given district, 
when fearing an attack from natives, 
assemble their waggons and form them 
into a zigzag circle or square, and 
pitch their tents within it. This is 
going into laager. 

The news from Bechuanaland this 
morning is more serious. The magis- 
trate and farmers at Kuruman have 
gone into laager. D. T., 9th January 

Going ter keep a peanner-shop 
(Street, London). Evidence of com- 
plete grandeur, said aloud of and to a 
neighbour or other person passing in 
all the flaunting array adapted to 

Going to Calabar (Naval). Dying 
from Calabar being situated on the 
marshy estuary of Cross River, West 
Coast of Africa, and particularly one 
of the spots called white men's graves. 

Going to buy anything? (Streets, 
1896 on). Evasive request for a drink. 
One man who wants refreshment 
badly meets another, and puts this 
minute inquiry. 

Going to see a dawg (Sporting}. 
Meaning a woman, whose social posi- 
tion may be assumed by her associa- 
tion with 'dawg' always thus spelt 
or pronounced. 

Going to see a man (Anglo- Amer., 
1883). Going to get a drink. 

A young fellow, who had a pretty 
young woman iu tow, got up after each 
act and went out. When he came back 
the second time his companion asked : 
'Did you see him?' 'See whom?' he 
demanded. ' The man you went to see. ' 
' I didn't go out to see a man ; I wanted 
to get a drink,' was the candid rejoinder. 

The chronicler adds that the frankness 
of this admission so overpowered her 
that she could only squeeze his hand and 
say, ' Oh, George ! and was it good ? ' 
Ref., 6th September 1885. 

Gone coon (Amer. -Eng. ). Raccoon, 
which has taken refuge in a tree, and 
thus offers a perfect aim to the sports- 
man. Conquered, trapped. 

Gone over a goodish bit of grass 
(Peoples'}. Tough referring to a very 
hard leg of mutton, presumably old. 
Good example of evasive satire. 

Gone through Hades with his hat 
off (Amer. just understood in Eng- 
land). Bold. 

Gone through the sieve (Managers'). 
Bankrupt lost from sight. 

Gone to Chicago (Eng.-Amer.). 
Vanished, levanted. Last outcome 
( 1884) of G. T. T. (q.v.). 

The spectacle of half a score of gold- 
laced and brass-buttoned generals in full 
uniform gravely discussing whether a 
fellow-officer was or was not wanting in 
proper respect for a civilian now shorn 
of official station and ' gone to Chicago ' 
cannot fail to be inspiring. New York 
Mercury, April 1885. 

Gone to Rome (Obscure}. Become 

Catholic Spain still keeps up her old 
traditions of Holy Week observances and 
religious ceremonies. When the clock 
strikes ten on the morning of Maundy 
Thursday all carriage, cart and tramway- 
car traffic ceases, even in the streets of 
Madrid ; and the capital of Spain be- 
comes a Silent City for forty- eight hours, 
until ten o'clock strikes on Saturday 
morning, and the bells of the churches 
' return from Rome ', as the popular say- 
ing has it, and announce High Mass. 
D. N. , 4th April 1890. 

(See Sent to Coventry. ) 

Godfer (Peoples'). Troublesome 
child. Short for God-forsaken. 

God-forbids (Rhyming). Kids a 
cynical mode of describing children, 
by poor men who dread a long family. 

God-speed (Nautical). Hospitable 
meal given when a vessel is about to 

Mr Sutherland at a God-speed party 
on board the Valetta said, etc. D. N. t 
3rd March 1884. 

Golblast (Amer., 1883). A mild 

Gold hunters (American}. 



Got Line 

Gom (Political, 1883). G.O.M. 
became a word. Coined on the initials 
of Graiid Old Man Mr Gladstone, 
who in this year was quite the idol 
of the people. 

Gonnows ( Women of Lower Class, 
19 cent.). God knows with the 'd' 
elided. ' Gonnows I'm innercent Mrs 
Biffley gonnows that.' 

Gonoph (E. London). Thief this 
word being Hebrew for the same. 

Good curtain (Theatrical). Good 
ending to an act. 

Good hiding (Peoples'). The good 
refers to the hider, not the hided. 
The second word refers to the hide, 
or skin of the victim. 

Good strange (Queen Ann). God's 
strings, that is, the cords which 
bound string having possibly been 
pronounced strang, as it still is in 
some parts of England. 

Good strange I swear I'm almost 
tipsy. Congreve, The Double Dealer. 

Good thing out of it (Peoples' 
Hist. ) . Success probably not wholly 
unaccompanied by smartness. 

Meantime it is as well to put in a word 
of warning against the notion that the 
British Government seeks to use a 
common commercial phrase to make a 
' good thing oat of it ' from a financial 
point of view. D. T., 18th January 

Good young man (L. Peoples', 
1881). Catch phrase for hypocrite. 
Brought in by Mr Arthur Roberts in 
a song. (See Bad young man.) 

Goose (U.S.A.). Practical joke. 
Has nothing to do with goosing in 

Gooseberry-picker (Soc.old). A 
confidant in love matters, who shields 
the couple, and brings about inter- 
views between them. 

Gorblimeries (Police). Seven Dials. 

Gorblimy (about 1875). A gutter 
phrase A corruption of 'God blind 

Gord keep us (London- Jewish). A 
vulgar translation of one of the most 
beautiful Hebrew ejaculations. 

Gordelpus (Street). A ' starver, ' or 
casual, who has obtained this name 
from his ordinary exclamation 
'Gordelpus (God help us) what's a 
cove ter do ? ' 

Gosh ding (Anglo- Amer.). God 

Gospel according to St Jeames 

(Soc., 1847 on). Snobbery, abject 
devotion to persons of position. 
Derived from Thackeray's Jeames de 
la Pluche. 

Gospel of gloom (Anti - aesthetic, 
1880). Satirical description of 
sestheticism which tended to doleful 
colours, gloomy houses, sad limp 
dresses, and solemn, earnest behaviour. 

As what was called ' the artistic dress ' 
was never adopted by acknowledged 
beauties or ladies of rank and fashion so 
did that theory of house decoration 
familiarly known as ' the gospel of gloom ', 
completely fail to obtain any grip in 
Grosvenor, Berkeley, St James's, or 
Belgrave Square. D. N. Workers, etc., 
17th September 1898. 

Gospel of the tub (Society, 1845). 
The mania for the use of cold water. 

A bath was, all over Europe, a luxury, 
or a remedy for illness, until what has 
been called the gospel of the tub was 
commenced in England. Athletics, tub- 
bing, and the Broad Church seized on 
the English mind together, and cold 
water was preached as the great pre- 
server of strength and beauty. D. N., 
9th February 1883. 

Got a clock (Peoples', Historical). 
Carrying a handbag. The creation of 
this phrase is quite historical. The 
first serious explosion by dynamite in 
London (Victoria Terminus, 1883) was 
effected by dynamite in connection 
with an American clock whose hammer 
struck the trigger of a pistol whose 
charge fired the explosion. (See 
Fenian. ) 

Got a collar on (Street). Stuck up. 

Got a face on him (Peoples'). 
Evasion of ugly. 

Got the crop (Military up to 
1856). Short hair. Until after the 
Crimean War, when the long beards 
the men brought home resulted in the 
hair being close cropped as a matter 
of natural taste ; hair in the British 
army was worn somewhat long. 

Got the glow (Com. London). 
To blush. 

Got it (General, 19 cent.). The 
' it ' here is very emphatic, and means 
punishment in excelsis. 

Got line (Theatrical, 1870 on). 
Shortly ' go ' ; but the words mean 


Got Right 


more than this. They infer vigour, 
grace, strength and charm in move- 
ment, especially in dancing. Only 
applied to women. 

Got right (Sporting, 19 cent.}. 

Mr C. Hibbert has, we understand, 
sent Kirkhnl to Jesse Winfield to be got 
right. Jesse is a good trainer and rider, 
but he has theories. Eo. News, 23rd 
January 1896. 

Got swing (Artistic generally, 1880). 
Equivalent to 'go', vigour or the 
French avoir la ligne. 

Got thar (Anglo- Amer., 1880). Got 
there completion, triumph, victory. 

Got the morbs (See., 1880). 
Temporary melancholia. Abstract 
noun coined from adjective morbid. 

Got the pants (Common}. Panting 
from over-exertion. Figure of speech. 

Got the perpetual (Peoples' ). Chiefly 
confined to vigorous and go ahead 
young men. 

Got the shutters up (Peoples'}. 
Surly from the silent appearance of 
a closed shop. 

Got the woefuls (Peoples'). Miser- 
able, wretched, in the dumps. 

Got up and dusted (Amer.-Eng.). 
Escaped from a man when running 
away throwing up the dust behind 

Got up no end (Peoples'). Magnifi- 
cent personal display, appertaining to 
all parts of the dress and person. 

Cotter -dam-merung (Soc. 1862). 
Grotesque swearing which was used 
after Wagner had -allowed his Ring to 
be performed in London (1862). 

Gowned (L. Fashion, 1890 on). 
Evening dressed. 

The diamonds worn by Mrs Raleigh, 
exquisitely ' gowned ' we believed that 
is the word would not bear the scrutiny 
of the experts of Hatton Garden. D. T., 
26th September 1895. 

Grab -bag (Anglo-American). 
Tombola, or lucky bag, filled with small 
and large prizes disguised in sawdust. 

Grabber (Thieves'). Evasive term 
amongst the fraternity for a garotter. 

Grabbles (Country). Infantry. 
Probably disguised grubbies, from the 
evident fact that the infantry are not 
out of the mud as are the cavalry. 

Grace o' God (Financial). Term 
given to the copy of a writ issued upon 
a bill of exchange. 

Grandfather Clock (Peoples', 1868). 
High eight-day clock. Never had a 
name before this date. From an 
American song called 'My Grand- 
father's Clock,' which became popular 
and gave this title. 

Grand Old Man (Pol., 1880-90). 
Mr W. E. Gladstone. Mr Bradlaugh, 
although claiming no originality for 
this phrase, was the cause of its 
popularity, through introducing it, in 
reference to Mr Gladstone, in a speech 
at Northampton. 

Five minutes later an almost painful 
silence, followed by a craning of necks 
and a general rising from chairs and 
benches, proclaimed the fact that the 
' Grand Old Man ' had been seen 
emerging from the central doorway at 
the back of the stage. D. T., September 
1896. (SeeG.OM.) 

Grand Young Man (Pol., 1885). 
R,t. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain in 
contradiction to the Grand Old Man. 

Granite-boys (American). People 
of New Hampshire, which is a granite- 
producing territory 

Grass before breakfast (Irish, 18 
cent, and early 19 cent.}. Duel. May 
be a jocular derangement of grace 
before breakfast. 

Dick Dawson had a message conveyed 
to him from O'Grady requesting the 
honour of his company the next morning 
to 'grass before breakfast'. Lover, 
Handy Andy, ch. xix. 

Grasses (Printers'}. A cry directed 
at any one particularly polite ; pro- 
bably from French gracieuse. (See 
Bridges. ) 

Grave-digger (Anglo - Ind., 19 
cent.). Strong drink. 

Too much 'route marching, pipe - 
claying, and starching ' tends to dulness 
and apathy, whilst it leads the British 
soldier, when off duty, to make too free 
an acquaintance with the ' grave-digger ', 
as it is termed in India. D. T., 21st 
August 1896. 

Graved (Sheer adopted American). 
Buried. (See ' Nuptiated. ' ) 

Gray - mare the better horse 
(Peoples'). Praise of a wife, as more 
able than her husband. 

Gray-mite (American). Vegetarian. 
From one Graham, who advocated 



Grinning at the Daisy Roots 

severe vegetarianism. Grahamite 
offered an irresistible opening. 

Grease (Westminster School). 
Struggle, contention, or scramble 
of any kind, short of actual fighting. 

Grease. See Bit o' Grease. 

Grease-spot. The imaginary result 
of a passage-at-arms. 

Greaser (Navy, 1860-82). A scorn- 
ful way of describing naval engineers. 

Great bed of Ware (Peoples'). 
Anything very large in the furniture 
way. The great bed of Ware was at 
"Ware, in Hertfordshire, until near 
1870. Shakespeare speaks of the 
Great Bed of Ware in Twelfth Night. 

Great bounce (Am., 1883). Death. 
Everyday Americans, disgusted possibly 
with the sentimental fashion of describ- 
ing death for some years (see Rocked 
to sleep, Joins the angels, Sweet bye 
and bye, etc., etc.) invented several 
grotesque paraphrases of death (see 
Set to music). This was one of the 

Experience has shown that iron steam- 
ships are very dangerous in case of 
collisions, so the only plan now to 
increase ocean travel will be to build 
vessels entirely of india - rubber. A 
collision between vessels would hardly 
do more than give the passengers the 
grand bounce. Detroit Free Press, 1883. 

Great horn-spoon (American pro- 
bably from the Dutch). The Deity. 

Great Seizer (Amer. satirical). 
The Sheriff. 

Greater Britain (Polit.). Annexa- 
tion. Term seriously invented by Sir 
C. Dilke (1885) to include all colonies. 

Greater London (Soc.). Popular, 
well-known. * He belongs to Greater 
London' meaning that he is more 
than known to a mere division of 
society. Originally invented to de- 
scribe the vast modern increase in 

Grecian Bend (1865-70). A satiri- 
cal description of a stoop forward in 
walking noticed amongst women of 
extreme fashion during the last years of 
the Second French Empire, and which 
was due to the use of enormously high- 
heeled French boots. The fashion fell 
with the Empire. (See " Roman Fall," 
" Alexandra Limp," " Buxton Limp.") 

Greedy Scene (Theatrical). An 
acting scene in which a principal actor 

or actress clears the stage in order to 
have it for himself or herself, and 
bring down the curtain upon himself. 

Green mountain boys (American). 
People of Vermont a droll translation). 

Green, To be (Railway, not yet 
come to people). Be cautious, from 
green through the railway world being 
the colour signal for caution. Good 
example of changed meaning green 
still in one sense meaning foolish, in- 
experienced. (See All over Red. ) 

Greenery - yallery (Soc., 1880-84). 
Distinctive term applied to the 
aesthetes who affected this peculiar 
'colour-tone'. Derived from W. S. 
Gilbert's Patience. 

When we all admired maidens clad, 
like the Goddess Venus in an obscure 
minor poem, 'in mourning raiment of 
green and grey', when, in fact, the 
' greenery yallery ' view of life prevailed, 
then blood was at a discount, and 
albumen ceased to be firm in the 
market. D. N., llth June 1885. 

Greens (Hist. Pre-reform). Corrup- 
tion of groans, no longer compre- 
hensible after the reformation. This 
word has got coalesced with 'agree- 
ings ' these referring to domesticity, 
and thus the inexplicable 'greens' 
become comprehensible. 

S'elp me greens, yer washup, I don't 
know what booze is. I'm a most ill-used 

Grey (Thieves'). Evasive name for 
silver from its colour presumably ; 
and figuratively, money. 

Griminess (Literature). Eroticism 
in literature, especially French. 

Attempt to write a novel in which the 
characters are 'all good' was no doubt 
a spirited reaction against the prevalent 
'griminess' of French fiction. D. N.. 
19th January 1895. 

Grin like a Cheshire cat (Peoples'). 
Fearfullest grin of all. 

Grinning at the daisy roots (Anglo- 
Indian). Dead singular reminiscence 
of home fields, daisies being absent 
from the Hindustanee flora. 

For thin potations are fortunately 
in favour, and the old - fashioned 
gormandizers of twenty dozen of oysters 
and unlimited stout are like the beer- 
swilling 'nabobs' or 'old Indians', all, 
in Calcutta language, 'grinning at the 
daisy - roots' now. D. N. t 25th 
September 1884. 


Grinning Dears 


Grinning dears (Military]. Lines- 
man's nick-name for ' Grenadiers '. 

Groceries sundries (Trade). Wine 
and bottled spirits sold furtively on 
credit to women the bills sent in to 
their husbands including the cost of 
these liquids, itemed as (groceries 

Grogging (Peoples'). Adulteration. 
Took its rise from making false grog 
by pouring boiling water into empty 
whisky barrels, impregnated with the 
spirit. Thence passed as a well-under- 
stood word to represent adulteration in 

Groping for Jesus (Peoples', 1882). 
Public prayer. Derived from one of 
the imitative military orders of General 
Booth, the creator of the Salvation 
Army. They did actually use the cry 
' Grope for Jesus grope for Jesus ', 
when the followers fell upon their 

Groundling (Theatre, 16 cent.). 
Occupier of the pit, probably came out 
of the bear-pit. 

Grouse (Army). Grumble and 
growl. This is a provincial word still 
in extensive use for worrying and 

Growler - shovers (Peoples'). Cab- 

Grub - hamper (Public Schools'). 
Consignment of sweet edibles from 

Gruel (American). Sloppy poetical 

Guanoing the mind (Sor.., 1847). 
Reading French novels. Invention 
of Disraeli, published in Tancred. 
Accepted by Geo. Eliot. "This is a 
piece of impiety which you may expect 
from a lady who has been guanoing 
her mind with French novels. This is 
the impertinent expression of Disraeli, 
who, writing himself much more 
detestable stutf than ever came from a 
French pen, can do nothing better to 
bamboozle the unfortunates who are 
seduced into reading his Twiwred, than 
speaking superciliously of all other 
men and things." Life, vol. i., 
p. 163. 

Guess (American- English). Think ; 
as 'I guess not'. Supposed to have 
come from U.S.A. to England, but it 
seems in the first place to have gone 
there from here. Escalus, in 

Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, 
replies to a question, ' I guess not'. 

Guffoon (Irish). An awkward, 
shambling fellow. From Italian. 

Gugusse (French used by certain 
English Catholics). An effeminate 
youth who frequents the private com- 
pany of priests. In Paris (1880) the 
word was taken from the name of one 
of the novels specially directed about 
this time at the French priesthood. 

Guinea gold (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
Sincere perfect. The gold coin of 
the whole eighteenth century was made 
of gold from the coast of Guinea. 
It was of a magnificent yellow and 
gave the name to the new twenty-one 
shilling coin. 

Guiver (Street Boy Swells, 1890 on). 
The tignasse or sweep of hair worn 
down on the forehead, lower and lower 
as the '90's proceeded. (See Quiff. ) 

Gum (Lower Peoples'). Said to be 
abbreviation of ' God Almighty '. 

Gummed (American-English Boys'). 
American boys' ways of referring to 
age. ' He's gummed ' meaning that 
he has no teeth left that he is only 
fit to die. 

Gummed (Amer.-Eng.). Equal to 
damned. Disguised swearing. Term 
very common in U.S.A. 

Gum-suckers. A native of Tas- 
mania, where gum-trees abound; a 

Gummy (Sporting, 1870). Swell, a 
grandee. Imported by English racing 
book-makers who infested and infest 
Paris. A translation of ' gommeux '. 

Gummy composer (Musical). Old 
and insipid. 

Gun - flints (Amer.). People of 
Rhode Island. 

Gunnery Jack (Naval). Gunnery 
lieutenant very popular in the Navy 
during the Boer War, and especially 
after the relief of Ladysmith. 

Gunning (Amer.-Eng.). Shooting, 

Gyle (Fast Life, 1850-78). Shortened 
familiar, and secretive title for Argyle 
Rooms, Windmill Street. 


H. 0. G. 

Hand-me-down Shop 


H. O. G. (American). Satire upon 
titles of honour High Old Genius. 

H. Q. (Volunteers', 1860, etc.). 
Abbreviation of Head Quarters. 

Had enough (Street, 19 -cent.). 
Way of saying a man is drunk. 

Haggis debate (Parliamentary). 
Referring to Scotland and Scotch 

Hail up (Australian). Put up, as 
at an inn. Also an order by a bush- 
ranger an intimation to throw up the 
hands, so that no weapon shall be 

Haines (American- Eng.). Intima- 
tion of sudden retreat. Heard in 
Liverpool, whence it arrived from New 

Hair raised (American - Eng.). 
Feminine quarrelling. 

Hairpin (American Soc., 1882). A 

Hake (Cornish Local). Offensive 
description of a man of St Ives pro- 
bably because hake is a very common 
fish, or possibly because it and St Ives 
smell equally fishy. 

It is an unpardonable sin to describe 
a gentleman of St Ives as a 'hake'. 
D. T., 20th August 1896. 

Half-a-brewer (Low Street, 1850). 

Half-a-doz ( Theatrical). Short for 

Half-a-foot o' port (Strand, 19 
cent. ). Glass of that wine at ' Short's ' 
opposite Somerset House. From 
the height of the glass, its shape being 
that of the champagne beaker of the 

In the front department we have the 
' ladies ' who are the life-long companions 
of hard work, and enjoy their port of 
uncertain date, at 3^d. the half foot, for 
the size of the long glasses warrants this 
description. People, 20th November 

Halfalfanalf. See Arfarfanarf. 
_Half-and-half. See Arf-an-arf. 

Half a pint of mild and bitter 
(Tavern). Intimated by a whistled 
phrase, well known to bar tenders, 

and quite as readily accepted as a 
spoken order throughout London 
except the West district. 

Half a ton of bones done up in 
horsehair (Sporting). A thin ill- 
conditioned young horse. 

Half - a - yennork (Com. Londo-n). 

Half-crown ball (Mid.-CL, 1880). 
A respectable, commonplace hop. 

Half -go. Three pennyworth of 
spirits, for mixing with hot or cold 

Half -hour gentleman (Soc., 1870). 
A man whose breeding is only 
superficial. (See For-ever gentleman). 

Half - past nines (Lond. Streets). 
Very large feminine boots and shoes 
nines being a large size even for men 
of moderate feet. 

Halfpenny howling swell (1870- 
79). An imitation howling swell a 
pretender. (See Brown.) 

Halfpenny-lot day. (See 'Apenny- 
lot day.) 

Half-rats (Peons', 1897). Partially 

Half up the pole (Street). Half 
drunk. (See Up the pole.) 

Hallelujah galop (Salvationists'). 
A quick hymn in or f time, to 
which they inarched invented by 
General Booth to attract the multitude. 

Hallelujah lass. (See Ally Luja 

Halligator (Coffee-home). One of 
the variety of names for herring. 

Hamburg (Anglo-Indian). Bazaar 

Hamlets (Theatrical, 1885). Ome- 
lettesstarted on Ash Wednesday by 
the actors of the Princess's Theatre, 
where Mr Wilson Barrett was then 
playing Hamlet. These gay souls 
dined and supped at the Swiss Hotel, 
Compton Street, and necessarily there- 
fore found themselves before omelettes. 
They were dubbed ' Hamlets ' and 
they have kept the name in 'the 

Hammered (N. Country Iron Trade). 
Married very local word. 

Hampshire hog (Sussex). Hamp- 
shire man. (See Sussex Sow. ) 

Hand - me - down shop (Poor). 
Illegal pawnbroker's where halfpence 

Hand of Trumps 


are advanced upon property which the 
Lombardians will not look at. Used to 
designate the shop. (See Ammedown.) 

Hand of Trumps (Mid. - Class), 
Bound to win. Victory. 

Handful (Mid. - Class). Trouble, 
difficulty. Much to contend with. 

Handy Jack (Peoples'). Con- 
temptuous form of 'Jack of all 

Handy man, The (Boer War. 1899- 
1900). Sailor. When the Boers 
(October 1899) overran Natal, the 
sailors who went to the front with 
cannon showed themselves very active. 

The handy man. High praise for the 
naval brigade. People, 1st April 1900. 

Hang 1 up (Amer.). Hold your 

Hang up the ladle (Soc., 18 cent.). 
To marry. 

Hanover jacks (Peoples 7 ). Imitation 
sovereigns. Probably originally false 
coins bearing the effigy of Jacobus, or 
James II., sent over from Germany, 
and passed as genuine in William 
III.'s reign. It may be doubted if the 
issuers could have been prosecuted 
for their coins were not imitations of 
really current coin. 

On searching the prisoner I found 
twenty-five ' To Hanover ' sovereigns 
usually carried by magsmen, several 
'Bank of Engraving' notes, and two 
duplicates relating to coats. Police 
Report, 1888. 

Happen on (People's, Old). Dis- 

Happy dosser. (Se&'Appy dosser.) 

Hard and fast line (Parliamentary). 
Equal to obstinacy, argument which 
refuses to hear reason. 

Mr Henley did not after 1870 take any 
prominent part in the debates. Some of 
his sayings will probably be always re- 
collected in Parliament. The ' hard and 
fast line ' and the ' ugly rush ' are destined 
apparently to become stock phrases in 
our Parliamentary controversy. D. N., 
10th December 1884. 

Hard on the setting sun (Anglo- 
Saxon Hist., 19 cent.). Phrase indi- 
cating utter scorn of the Red Indian. 

' Hard on the setting sun ' is a charac- 
teristic bye-word with which to signalise 
his humiliation. People, 13th June 1897. 

Hard Simpson (Milk-sellers'). Ice. 
Simpson was the general name for 

water up to the time when the intro- 
duction of the system of market in- 
spectors put an end, or almost an end, 
to adulterated milk. This phrase came 
out in a police court 1865. 

Hard tack (Sailors'). A sea biscuit. 
In passed-away times it ivas hard. 
Tack is the diminutive of tackle, to 
encounter. (See Soft tack. ) 

Hard up (All Classes). Impe- 

Harder (Anglo- Amer.). Higher, in 
reference to betting. 

Hardware (Army and Navy, 1880). 
Ammunition in general, and shells in 
particular. Jocular description. 

If King Theebaw has had the precau- 
tion to lay in a supply of torpedoes, he 
may be able to give the expedition some 
trouble, but the chances are that the 
authorities at Kangoon may have had an 
eye on such kind of ' hardware '. D. N, . 
12th November 1885. 

Harlequin Jack (Law Class). A 
man who shows off equally in manner 
and in dress ; e.g., ' What is 'e ? on'y 
a 'arlequin Jack.' 

Haro. To yell. (See Cry haro. ) 
Harrico veins. (See 'Arrico veins.) 
Harriet Lane (Peoples', 1875). 
Australian canned meat because it 
had the appearance of chopped-up meat; 
and Harriet Lane was chopped up by 
one Wainwright. 

Harvested (Amer.). Guarded, 
watched over. 

Hash dispensary (Amer.). Board- 
ing house. 

Hash-slingers (Amer., 1880). 
College-student waiters in up-mountain 

Hasty pudding (Peoples'). Literal 
for it is flour and water boiled and 
completed in five minutes. (See Stir- 
about ; Turn-round pudding. ) 

Hatter? Who's your (See Bad 

Haussmannisation (1860-70 on). 
Imperious action in relation to the 
improvement of cities without refer- 
ence to the liberty of the subject. 
From Haussman, the minister of 
Napoleon III., under whose adminis- 
tration half Paris, for political pur- 
poses, was pulled down and rebuilt. 

But, after all, the possibilities of im- 
provement in this direction are strictly 
limited; land is too valuable, and the 

Have a Cab 


imperial process known as ' Haussmanni- 
sation ' would not in all cases be popular. 
D. T., 12th July 1898. 

Have a cab (London). Paraphrase 
for admission or reproach of intoxica- 

Have a down (Australian). Bear 
a grudge. Very significant Saxon. 

Also, the handicapper would ' have a 
down ' as the phrase goes in Sydney 
on that owner for all forthcoming races. 
JRef., 26th September 1886. 

Have a turn (Pug., 19 cent.). A 
bout of fisticuffs, a pugilistic skirmish. 

Ansburgh even told one of the officers 
that he would have liked to ' have a turn 
with him ', placing himself at the time in 
a sparring attitude. D. N., 10th April 

Have out (Peoples', 1860). To hold 
a frank discussion, verging upon per- 

But she cannot forego the satisfaction 
of ' having it out ' with her husband. 
D. N., 2nd April 1883. 

Have to rights (Lower Peoples', 
1880). To vanquish frequently used 
in the passive voice. 

Have to wait for the honey (Devon- 
Wait until hungry. 

Havelock's saints (Military In- 
dian Mutiny). Teetotallers, abstainers. 

Having (Leicestershire). Greedy. 

Mrs Deane was proud . . . and having 
enough she wouldn't let her husband 
stand still for want of spurring. George 
Eliot, Mill on the Floss. 

Haw-haw toff (Street). Swell, 
aristocrat 'haw-haw' being an ex- 
pression very common as to the opening 
words of upper class men, while toff is 
almost the sound caused by haughtily 
drawing in the breath with the lower 
lip on the edge of the upper teeth. 

Hawk and pigeon (Soc., 19 cent.). 
Villain and victim. 

The station-sergeant on duty }> not 
knowing the detective, supposed him to 
be the accused. 'But I am the officer 
in the case.' It was not until the real 
captive intervened with an explanation 
that hawk and pigeon were sorted out 
properly for the occasion.' D. T., 17th 
June 1897. 

Hawking (Amer.}. Pouncing. De- 
rived from the action of birds of prey 
crashing on their quarry. 

Hawkins, Sir Frederic. (See 

Haymaking (College and Army). 
Practical joking. 

A number of men go into a friend's 
room, find him absent, and testify to 
their chagrin by disturbing the arrange- 
ments of his furniture. But haymaking 
of this sort is comparatively harmless 
and inoffensive. D. N., 1882. 

He lies at the Pool of Bethesda 
(St. Beghs'i). This comes from the 
German. To lie at the Pool of Bethesda 
is used proverbially in Germany, in 
speaking of the theological candidates 
who are waiting for a benefice. 

He never does anything wrong 
(Music Hall, 1883). Satirical modb 
of describing a man who never does 
anything right. ' What bankrupt 
again ? Oh, impossible he never does 
anything wrong. ' 

He worships his creator (Soc.). 
Said of a self-made man who has a 
good opinion of himself. . 

Heap o' coke (Thieves', Rhyming}. 
Bloke which means a comrade. 

Some heaps o' coke haven't got an 
ounce of cheek in them until they're 
Hatch kennurd, but they ain't worth 
calling into account. 

Heap o' saucepan lids (Rhyming, 
1880). Rhyming with dibs money. 
This is one of the trade titles for 
money, and comes out of the hard- 
ware trades. 

Heaping in (Amer. -Agri.}. Ac- 
cumulating an argument, or debt. 
From heaping in produce. 

Heapy (Rhyming}. Bloke (a chum). 
Short for heap o' coke. 

Heated term (Amer.}. Name for 
the short but fierce American summer. 

Hearthstone ( Coffee Palace}. Butter. 
It results out of the term ' door-steps ', 
as a description of the flight of three 
or four thick slices of bread and butter 
on a small plate. The action of rubbing 
hearthstone over house - steps, and of 
spreading butter thinly on the slices 
of bread yielded this grotesque figure 
of speech. 

Heaves (Com. Class}. Spasms. 
Graphic description of the complaint. 

Heavy hand (Com. Peoples'}. Deep 

Heavy merchant (Theatr.}. Man 
who plays the villain. 

Heckling (N.B., 18-19 cent.}. Mild 
bullying from cock-fighting, heck- 


Higher Culture 

ling being the process of pecking out 
the neck -feathers. 

Heckling (Polit., 1850 on). Search- 
ing enquiry by way of questions asked 
of political candidates. From passing 
hanks of raw hemp through carding 

There was some timid heckling, to 
which Mr Gladstone good-humouredly 
replied. D. N., llth November 1885. 

Hell and Tommy (Old English). 
Said to be Hal and Tommy, i.e., 
Henry VIII. and Thomas Cromwell 
this couple, after the fall of Woolsey, 
playing havoc with church property. 
' I'll play hell and tommy with you ! ' 
In all probability this phrase is a cor- 
ruption of ' hell and torment'. 

Helter - skelter (Historic). Full 
speed. Reid says : ' Helter-skelter is 
a contraction of the Latin, Hilareter 
celerter cheerfully and quickly.' Pro- 
bably an onomatope very .fortunately 
applied when Van Tromp's fleet fled 
before the English some ships north 
towards the Helder, others south 
towards the Scheldt (Dutch Skelder). 
And helter-skelter have 
I rode to thee, 
And tidings do I bring. 

Shakespeare, Henry IV., 

2 part, Act 5, Sc. 3. 
He-male (Com. London, 1880). A 
full shape of male, and resulting 
from calling female she-male (q.v.). 

Hemp's grown for you (Peoples', 
17 cent.). Periphrastic prognostication 
of the gallows flax coming from hemp 
and rope from flax. Meaning that 
already the executioner's cord is in 
existence for the beneficiary referred 
to. (See ' Dance upon nothing ', ' Mount 
the cart'.) 

Henri Clark (Drury Lane, 1883). 
Flatter. From the flattering stage- 
mode of a singer of this name. 

Her Majesty's naval police 
(19 cent.). Sharks whose presence 
all over the world prevents sailors from 
deserting by way of harbour water. 

Hercules pillars (Lit. and Soc. 
from Latin). Limit of belief. Gibraltar 
and the corresponding rock on the 
African coast, were, for the Roman, 
the limits of the world of waters, and, 
colloquially, of any extreme statement. 

Hero-hotic (Bohemia, 1897). 
Grotesque pronunciation of 'erotic' 

and applied to the more eccentric 
novels of the day. 

He's saving them all for 'Lisa 

(Peoples'). Said of a good young man 
who will not use oaths or strike blows. 
This phrase arose in consequence of a 
row between a violent beggar and a 
frank young man of the people. The 
mendicant asked for a copper, the 
frank youth intimated he was saving 
them all for 'Lisa. A fight followed. 

Hess-u-hen (Lower Middle Class). 
A way of asking for a copy of The 
Sun newspaper. 

Hey lass let's be hammered for 
life on Sunday ! Probably, in the 
first place, from the work of the 
blacksmith at Gretna Green. It was 
said of him jocularly that he hammered 
couples together rather than married 

Heye-glass weather (Street, 1860 
on). Foggy requiring the help of 
an eye, or rather eye-glass. Attack 
upon young men wearing single eye- 
glasses, which became common in this 

Hidgeot (Street). Gutter transla- 
tion of idiot. 

High (Oxford). High Street. 

Why, Oxford has laid out more than 
100,000 in adding a barrack for 
purposes of examinations to the ' High ', 
already sufficiently modernised by the 
tramway. D. N., February 1885. 

High collar and short shirts 
(Music Hall, 1882). This was an 
attack upon the cheap swells of the 

High time, or (intensified), High 
old time (American). Jovial period, 
enjoyment without much control. 

' Look to your safes the burglars are 
having a high old time of it. G. A. 
Sala, /. L. News, 10th February 1883. 

High part (Dublin Theatrical). 
Satirical phrase for the gallery. 

High shelf (Peoples'). The ground. 

Highflyer (Nautical). Slave-ship. 

High-grade (American- Eng., 1895). 
Superior. From railway world mean- 
ing steep above the general level. 

High - toned coloured society 
(American, 1882). Negro-astheticism. 

Higher culture (Soc., 1885 on). 
Oatch word of enthusiastic society 
people interested in education, who 


Highland Fling 

Holloway Castle 

assume that all persons are capable of 
advanced education. 

Moreover, even if we neglect to 
organise in this way the force which 
appears to be thus mysteriously making 
for ' the higher culture,' its mere appear- 
ance among us is a highly encouraging 
sign. D.T., llth February 1897. 

Highland fling (Political, 1881). 
Series of speeches in Scotland. When 
Gladstone (1879-80) delivered his 
famous Midlothian speeches, this term 
was applied to the statesman's efforts, 
and has since been accepted as 
representing a political speech delivered 
in Scotland. 

Hill-top literature. Solid advice. 
Derived from danger- board warnings 
to cyclists on the summits of steep 

The attention which is now being 
given to that form of ' hill-top literature ', 
known as ' danger-boards ', has resus- 
citated some stories concerning them. 
It is said that in Ireland a tourist went 
down a steep and dangerous hill and 
was astonished to observe that it seemed 
to be without the necessary warning. 
However, when he got to the foot of the 
descent he found the notice, ' This hill is 
dangerous to cyclists '. D. T., 14th July 

Hinchinarfer (Streets, 1880 on). 
Gruff-voiced woman, with shrieking 
sisterhood tendencies. Obscure erotic. 

His hand was out (Peoples'). 
Ready to take all and everything at 
all times. 

Histed (American, outlying}. Vigil- 
ance committee evasion for hanged. 
Corruption of hoisted pronounced 

Historical (Society, 1882). Old- 
fashionedsaid of a costume or bonnet 
which has been seen more than three 

Now, though dinner-dresses are rich, 
costly, and elaborate, if a lady appears 
at a fourth dinner or even a third in the 
same gown, it is immediately dubbed 
historical. Fashion as it ivas and is, 
D. N., 26th December 1882. 

Hitch up (Anglo-American). Start. 
From harnessing two horses to run 

Ho he's got the white coat 
(Provincial). Meaning he is drunk. 

Hold a candle (Peoples'). Be 
humble. Serve abjectly, as seen in the 
proverb. Took its rise from the habit 

of a host receiving an honoured guest 
by holding a candle in each hand and 
walking backwards before the arrival. 

Hold stock (Eng.- American, 1879). 
Assertion of possession. From the 
money brokering operations in New 

I do not come as a grievance monger or 
complainant. I do not ask for your 
pity, and have not the faintest feeling 
of revenge. Those were the passions of 
youth a delightful period in which, as 
our American friends phrase it, no 
longer 'held any stock'. Mr E. Yates, 
at Dinner given to him, London, 31st 
May 1885. 

Hold up (Society, 1860 on). To bo 
cheated or turned to account. From 
the American highway - man's habit 
of calling upon his victim to * hold up ' 
his hands, that he may not fire. 

Holding up the corner (Anglo- 
American). Satirical description of a 
leaning idler. 

Hollanders (S. London, 1875-85). 
Pointed waxed moustache. "When 
Napoleon III. became popular in 
England (1854) many adopted the 
chin-tuft or goatee he wore a tuft to 
which the necessary name imperial 
was given. During the first half of 
the 19th century no face hair in 
England was possible below the 
mutton-chop whisker probably from 
national horror of the over-bearded 
faces of the French revolutionaries. 
A Mr "W. Holland became a popular 
lessee he at last reaching Covent 
Garden Theatre. Throughout his 
public life he grew, and always had on 
hand, or rather on upper lip, the 
finest pair of black - waxed sheeny 
moustaches ever beheld. 

Holler Cuss (London, 1899). From 
Holocauste a French horse in the 
Derby of 1899. There is here also a 
little satire, for the horse in question 
showed several faults in form. 

Holocauste, colloquially ' Holler Cuss ', 
excited some ribald remarks by reason 
of his peculiar hue. D. T., 1st June 

Holloway Castle (Peoples'). Prison 
at Holloway (chiefly for debt), in the 
north of London; hence, sometimes 
called North Castle, as more evasive 
than Holloway. 

It may be taken as highly improbable 
that Her Grace (of Sutherland) will be 
subjected to the indignities which are 


L ~^BV*V- -WVW T^^BW^ J*A*T^ 

.~,,iL_L- ..- " 

Hug Centre 

Idle Fellowships 

Hug centre (Amer. passing to 
England}. Head - quarters of public 

Central Park as a hug centre. The 
amount of love made visible in Central 
Park is simply appalling. N. Y. 
Mercury, December 1882. 

The word was soon taken up in 
London, Hyde Park doing duty as a 
' hug centre '. 

Hullabaloo (Peoples'}. Noise, dis- 
turbance. It would appear to be a 
corruption of the French hurluberlu 
the accent on the two ' lu's '. 

Hullo, features ! (Com. Peoples'). 
Friendly salute upon meeting an 

Hullo, my Buck ! (Peoples'). Ex- 
clamation of approbation. Possibly 
from Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, 
or from the idea of a fine deer. Or it 
may be from buckram, the first stiffen- 
ing used in making men's clothes. In 
that case it is a metaphor from the 
man to his fashion. 

Hum (Navy). Crew's name for the 

Hum (Lower Classes, 19 cent.). 
Smell evilly. This is an application 
from the humming of fermentation in 
an active manure heap. 

Hum (Peoples', Hist.). Attract 

Mr Douglas Sladen has given new life 
to an old and somewhat decrepit annual ; 
a new life that makes it ' hum ' in the 
very direction the reading world desires. 
People, 4th April 1897. 

Hunder-hand (Street Boys, 1880). 
Sudden blow given with advantage. 

Hung (Artists', 19 cent.}. Picture 
accepted and hung at an Exhibition. 
' ' I'm hung at the Ac. " (See Walled. ) 

Hung up (Soc., 1879). Said where 
in lower classes stuck up would be 
used. From the American where 
personal catastrophe is referred to by 
this phrase. (See Screwed up.) 

Hunkered down( American prairie). 
Stooped, anchored down. 

Hunter (Soc., 1880). Hunting 

Jennings was on Friday presented with 
a gold hunter and chain, by a few of his 
kind friends in front, who took this 
opportunity of expressing their opinion 
of his form as man and manager. Ref., 
9th August 1885. 

Hupper sukkles (Soc., 1846-70). 
Upper circles. Introduced by 
Thackeray in the De la Pluche 

Hurry up (Anglo-Indian, 1850). Be 
quick originated in the river steamer 
navigation of U. S. A. 

Hustler (Amer. Circus). Name 
invented for flaming advertisements. 

Hyde Park railings (Streets of W. 
London). Breast of mutton from the 
parallel bones suggesting the parallel 

Hyking (Peoples'}. Calling out at 
or after any one. 

I. T. A. (Peoples'}. Euphemism for 
Irish toothache (q.v.). 

I believe you, my boy (L. Class). 
Certainly. Accepted by middle-class 
about 1850 from the drama of The 
Green Bushes, in which Paul Bedford, 
then a most popular actor, used the 
phrase as a catch line. 

'Tis forty years since Buckstone's 
drama The Green Bushes, was first 
played at the Adelphi, and since Paul 
Bedford's ' I believe yer, my boy ! ' found 
its way on to tongues of the multitude. 
Ref., 18th October 1885. 

I refer you to Smith (1897). 
Synonym of Ananias champion long 
bowyer, etc. From a character named 
Smith with an affliction of lying in 
The Prodigal Father (Strand Theatre, 

' I refer you to Smith.' This will be 
the new London catchword. Whenever 
anyone has been drawing the long bow, 
as Harry Paulton does in the new play, 
whenever a boaster has been telling 
tarrididles or lying with extra vivacity, 
he will be met with the quick rejoinder, 
'I refer you to Smith'./). T., 2nd 
February 1897. 

I say (Peoples', 19 cent. ). Protest. 

Ichabod (Nonconformist). Lamenta- 
tion. From Biblical source. ' Ichabod 
Ichabod I have lost my wealth. 
The Lord be praised.' 

Idle fellowships (Oxford and Cam- 
bridge). The old as distinct from the 
new fellowships. Parliamentary action 
swept away towards the end of the 




19th century most of these fatal sine- 

Much has been said against what are 
called idle Fellowships. Z>. N. t 
November 1884. 

letqui (0. L. Sporting). A re- 
markable shape of phrasing, where 
the first letter or so is removed from 
the beginning of the word and added 
at the end. The word is * quiet'. 

He (Complicated rhyming}. Dance 
Isle of France dance. ' Can't he ile ? ' 

I'll give you Jim Smith (Street, 
1887). Thrashing. Sudden adoption 
of the name of a prize fighter to 
designate fighting. 

Imperial pop (Street, 1854). Pop 
is ginger beer, derived of course from 
the sound made when drawing the 
cork. The adjective was added by 
street sellers of this refreshment when 
Napoleon III. passed in state through 

Imperialists (Polit., 1888 on). 
Name found by the Radicals (who were 
in favour of the abandoning of the 
colonies) for the Conservatives, who 
wished the Empire to remain intact. 

Impressionist (Soc. t 1884). In- 
tensely appealing directly to the 

Of late years we are accustomed to 
take our notions of French dramatic art 
from something more ' impressionist ' ; 
more vivid and rapid and startling ; 
depending more on sudden effects and 
bold splashes of light and shade. D. 
N., 29th April 1885. 

Improve the occasion (American). 
Take advantage of it. 

In (Peoples'). Gain. ' I'm nothing 
in by that deal.' (See Out. ) 

In and out (Common). Pauper who 
gives notice frequently to leave the 
poor-house, and who returns after a 
short holiday, say a day, or from 
Saturday to Monday. 

There are considerable numbers of 
paupers, it seems, who find the work- 
house a convenient retreat on emergency, 
but have a strong aversion to permanent 
residence there. They are known 
familiarly as 'the ins-and-outs '. D. N. t 
10th December 1884. 

In for a bad thing (Peoples', 1880 
on). To have ill luck. 

' You are in for a bad thing, Phil, my 
boy.' E. N., 23rd February 1896. 

In Paris (Soc. , 19 cent. ). Eloped. 

In the drag (Tailors'). Behind- 

Incident (Amer. accepted in Eng- 
land). An illegitimate child. 

Indorse (Amer.). To sanction. 

Inferior portion (Polit. t 1885). 
Eighties party of younger Tories. From 
a letter written by Mr W. E. Gladstone, 
which commenced 

My Dear Sir, In 1879 and 1880 the 
inferior portion of the Tory party circu- 
lated a multitude of untruths concerning 
me, etc. 

The phrase took at once, and was 
satirically used. 

Ink-bottle (Artisans'). A clerk. 

Inkslinger (Navy). Purser's clerk. 
Term of sovereign contempt. 

Innocent (Thieves', Hist.). Re- 
ferring to a term of undeserved con- 

An ex-convict, who admitted having 
undergone long terms of penal servitude, 
applied to Mr Denman, at Westminster, 
complaining that his worship gave him 
three months' ' innocent ' in May 1893 at 
South- Western Police Court. D. T., 
16th October 1896. 

Inquiry note (Theat., 1860). Term 
came into use when provincial com- 
panies were replaced by travelling ones. 
It is a letter asking for information as 
to what nights a theatre may be had 
for performance. 

Ins (Political, 19 cent.). The Minis- 
terial side of the House of Commons. 
(See Outs. ) 

Inside (Thieves'). Abbreviation of 
' inside a prison '. 

Beaufort's duke trots by, and then 
dashes past a once member of the dan- 
gerous classes, who has been ' inside ' 
many a time and oft, but who, having 
run into a bit of ready, will now go 
straight while straightness pays. Ref., 
14th October 1888. 

Inside of (American). A very em- 
phatic synonym for ' within '. 

Inside the mark (Anglo- Amer.}. 

Inside the probable (American- 
reaching England). Within proba- 

Introduce shoemaker to tailor 
(Peoples'). Evasive metaphor for 
fundamental kicking. 

Inventories (Soc. , 1885). Play upon 
the word inventions. In the previous 


Inveterate Cockney 

Jacket, To 

year a series of industrial exhibitions 
had been started in the then gardens 
of the S. Kensington Museum. This 
initial display was the ' Fisheries ', and 
from that time the successive exhibi- 
tions had their titles changed into 
plurals in ' ries '. Hence the ' Inven- 
tions ' became the Inventories. 

As all the world knows by now, London 
was very near losing its ' Inventories ' on 
Friday, for about noon a fire broke out 
there, and for some time threatened to 
be a big thing. Ref., 14th June 1885. 

This is the close of the season. I sup- 
pose the Kensington Inventories has had 
the best of it, and owing to this fact I 
imagine many of the managers may be 
deprived of that great pleasure paying 
income-tax. Mr J. L. Toole's closing 
speech, Toole's Theatre, 7th August 1885. 

Inveterate Cockney (Political, 
1885). Ignorant of country life a 
mere townsman. 

. . . Now, gentlemen, there are three 
assumptions in this calculation, every one 
of which I, an ' inveterate Cockney ', can 
see at a single glance to be totally in- 
accurate. Mr Joseph Chamberlain, 14th 
October 1885. 

Invincibles (Fenian, 1883). Short 
for Invincible Brotherhood. 

Irish draperies (Peoples', England). 

Irish toothache (Peoples). En- 
ceinte. (See I. T. A.) 

Irishman's rest (Peoples'). Going up 
a friend's ladder with a hod of bricks. 

Irons (American). Pistols. 

Irvingism (Lond. Soc., 1880 on). 
Imitation on or off the stage of the 
mode of speaking and bearing of Sir 
Henry Irving. 

Mr William Felton may also be heard 
of again. The ' Irvingism ' of his voice 
was obviously natural and in no way 
assumed. D. T., 12th October 1896. 

Islands (London). Refuges (q.v.) 
or raised pavements in centre of 
roads, to facilitate road-crossing by 

The statue (Charles I., Charing Cross) 
being situated on an 'island,' a certain 
amount of skirmishing was necessary in 
order to reach it. D. T., 31st January 

It snowed (Peoples' from America}. 
Catastrophe, misery. 

Italian quarrel (Soc.). Death, 
poison, treachery, remorselessness. 

It's dogged as does it (Pugilistic). 

Mr Benjamin's race and nation have 
generally shown themselves perfectly 
alive to the truth of the principle that 
' it's dogged as does it ', and they are not 
as a rule devoid of wits. D. N.. 10th 
February 1883. 


J. (Peoples'). Lost reduction of 
Juggins (q.v.) which in 1884 was quite 
exceptionally popular. 

By means of this knowledge we find 
the greatest of all differences between 
the raid on betting men in 1869 and the 
raid on professional gamblers and their 
J.'s twenty years after. Ref.. 19th April 

J.A.Y. (Peoples', 1880 on). Fool, 
over-trustful person, one of easy belief. 

Our business is not, however, with 
them or their intentions ; what we have 
to do is to think of the jays who offered 
about ten times the market price for a 
ten-round spar. Ref., 17th November 

J. S. or N. or D. (Divorce Court}. 
The initials of the three forms of 
disturbance amongst married folk. 

Whether it was an application for a 
divorce, a judicial separation, or for 
nullity of marriage, no one outside the 
parties interested will, probably, ever be 
any the wiser, since the letter indicating 
this (either ' J. S.', or 'N.', or ' D.', as 
the case may be) was not added in this 
instance, for some inscrutable reason. 
People, 16th August 1896. 

Jack (Lambeth, 1865-72). A police- 
man quite local. 

Jack-a-dandy (Rhyming). Brandy. 
This evolution has something probably 
to do with brandy, as being the most 
expensive of the ordinary spirits. 

Jack ashore (Peoples'). Jack 
elevated practically drunk, and 

Jack up (Street). To quit 
especially in love affairs. 

Jacked it (Obscure). Died. 

Jacket (Military}. A soldier who 
wears a jacket (chiefly cavalry or horse 

Jacket, To (Peoples'}. Threat to 
hare you locked up as a madman. 



Jag (Spanish - American - Eng.}. 
Desire to use a knife against somebody 
to jag him. 

J aggers (Oxford). Men of Jesus 

Jesus College men were called 'Jaggers', 
long before a certain messenger - boy 
played the part of Mercury across the 
Atlantic. D. T., 14th August 1899. 

Jailed (Peoples', 1879). Sent to 
prison. From America, through 
Liverpool, over England. 

Jakkitch (Provincial). Term of 
opprobrium. Probably corruption of 
Jack Ketch. 

Jam (Lower Class, 1 880 on). Pretty 
girl presumably of easy habits. The 
history of this word is very interesting. 
A girl of notoriety in Piccadilly was 
named ' Tart '. She, in compliment to 
her sweetness, came to be styled jam 
tart, and the knowing ones would ask 
' Would you like a bit of jam tart ? ' 
Then the tyranny of brevity asserting 
itself, the phrase became 'jam', which 
lasted twenty years. 

Here's a timely warning for all 
burlesque writers. The Examiner of 
Plays, which his name is Pigott, has 
determined that he will not give his 
sanction to the production of any piece 
in which the word 'tart' occurs. It ts 
not yet known whether orders have been 
issued from headquarters to all dictionary 
publishers to wipe the word out of the 
English language ; but the order has 
been sent, or will be, first to the burlesque 
makers, and to the dictionary-makers it 
may be sent tart-er. Ref., 27th October 

Jam-pot (Political, 1883-84). One 
of the opprobrious names cast at Mr 
Gladstone apropos to his recommend- 
ing to Englishmen the cultivation of 
fruit and the exportation of jam. 

Mr Gladstone is insulted day after day 
and week after week in Tory prints. He 
is a jam-pot, a wood-cutter, a hopeless 
lunatic, a Jesuit, an Atheist, a windbag, 
a storyteller, an idiot, and a humbug. 
G. R. Sims, 28th September 1884. 

Jammiest bits of jam (Com. Lon., 
1883). Absolutely perfect young 

Jane Shore's fate (Provincial very 
ancient). Death in penury and shame. 

Jap crock (Soc., I860 on). Any 
piece of Japanese porcelain of a value 
from 10,000 to a mere lOd. 

Japanned (Soc., 1897-98). Dressed 
or furnished in Japanese fashion. Play 
upon the old word for lacquering. 

The play is ' japanned ' by Mr Arthur 
Diosy of the Japan Society. From 
Daly's Theatre, London, play - bill, 

Jarbee (Navy). Able seaman. 

Jaundy (Navy). Master-at-arms. 
Supposed to be from ' gendarme '. 

Jaunty (Peoples'). Self-sufficient in 
appearance or words. 

Jawkins (Club, 1846). A club bore. 
Name-word derived from Thackeray's 
'Book of Snobs'. 

Jay town (Anglo - Amer., 1889). 

A brother-journalist who has spent 
some years in the United States has 
written explaining to me the meaning of 
a 'jay town ' term alleged to have been 
used by Mrs Kendal in describing San 
Francisco. A jay town is a country town. 
A 'jay' or a 'yapp' is the American 
equivalent of an English yokel or country 
bumpkin. Ref., 25th November 1894. 

Jayhawkers (American). People of 

Jee (American). Oath-like expres- 
sion. First syllable of Jerusalem. 
' Jee ! You don't dare to do it ! ' 

Jeff (Anglo - American, 1862 - 83). 
Master, superintendent, director, 

Jenny, To ( Thieves'). Comprehend. 

Jeremiah, To (Peoples'). To 
complain from the character of 
that prophet. 

Jeremiah-mongering (Soc., 1885). 
Deplorable and needless lamentation. 
Invented to describe the social 
behaviour of those who after the fall 
of Khartoum went around maintaining 
that England had indeed come to a 

Jerking a wheeze (Theatrical, 
1860). Telling a wheeze (q.v.) with 
brilliant effect. 

Jersey hop (1883). An un- 
ceremonious assembly of persons with 
a common taste for valsing ; from 
Jersey, U.S.A. 

Jesus'-eyes (Papal). Forget-me- 

Jettisonise (Col., 19 cent.). Im- 
portedplaced on a jetty. 


Jeune Sikcle 


Jeune siecle (Soc., 20 cent.). 
Conversion of fin de siecle, and de- 
scribing people equally of the same 
social behaviour. Of course from 

Jib (Soc., 1848-80). Flat- folding, 
'chimney-pot' hat, closed by springs 
set in centre of vertical ribs. Name 
from that of the French inventor 
'Gibus 3 . 

Jib, Big (Navy). Good wishes 
' Long may your big jib draw ' 
ostensibly refers to a valuable sail, 
but furtively has an erotic meaning. 
Practically it is wishing a man, who 
has served his time and is leaving the 
service, health and happiness. 

Jig-got o' mutton ( Thieves'). French 

Jimmies (Hist., 17 cent.). Guineas 
in the reign of James II. Remains 
to this day. 

Jimmy Bungs (Navy). Coopers. 

Jimmy Rounds (Nelsonic Period). 
Frenchmen according to the Jack Tar 
of the wars with France in Nelson's 
time. From the cry of the French 
sailor when face to face with the 
English mariner ,/e me rends. 

Joburg (Military, 1900 on). 

Jinks the Barber (M. Class, 1850). 
Secret informant. Idea suggested by 
the general barber being such a 
gossiper. Jinks is a familiar name for 
an easy-going man. Invented by 
Pierce Egan. 

Job (Peoples', Hist.}. Hen-pecked 
husband. Patient origin obvious. 
Douglas Jerrold gave this Biblical 
name to Mr Caudle. 

Jobanjeramiah(Peo^gs'). Maunderer 
combination of the two doleful 

Jockies, By (American- Provincial). 
Said to be survival of early English ; 
' By Jesus ' cries. 

Jockeying (London Streets, 19 cent.). 
Vehicular racing. 

Joey (Theatrical). To mug, or 
attract the attention of the public, 
while the 'mugger' is up the stage, 
and should be quiet, letting actors 
"down the stage" have their chance. 

John Fortnight ( Workmen's 
London). The tallyman from his 
calling every other week. 

The tallyman, or ' John Fortnight ', as 
the humorists call him, and the caller 
for the club - money secure varying 

Johnny Crapose (Peoples'). French- 
men. The second word is ' crapaud ', 
but how comes it that this word has 
been accepted in conjunction with 
Johnny to describe a Frenchman ? 

Johnny Horner (Rhyming). Round 
the corner meaning a public-house. 

Joined the angels (Amer., 1880). 
One of the ways of mentioning death. 
' Do not ask me after my dear John 
Thomas he has joined the angels.' 

Joint (Street). Wife. 

Jolly (Middle Class). Rally, a shout, 
a chevy. This word is evidently very 

He chanced to come where was a jolly 
Knight. Spenser. 

Those were jolly days. Dryden. 

While the jolly horns lead on pro- 
pitious day. Milton. 

The jolly hunting band convene. 


Jolly utter (London, 1881). One of 
the phrases resulting out of Punch's 
attack (1881) upon the Esthetic 
School. This is to be found in Sir W. 
S. Gilbert's piece Patience. 

Broken Hearts is rather a ticklish piece 
to tackle. Badly or even carelessly 
played, the love-sickness and the moon- 
struckness would be quite too jolly utter 
for the ordinary Philistine mind to stand. 
Ref., 18th February 1883. 

Jonah (Theatrical, 1883). An actor 
who brings bad luck to a theatre. 
Suggests the superstition of the evil 
eye. From Jonah's supposed ill-luck 
bringing catastrophe, when at sea. 
Apt antithesis to Mascotte. 

Joseph and Jesse (Polit., 1886). 
Political satiric cry against Mr Joseph 
Chamberlain and Mr Jesse Collings, 
raised immediately after the latter took 
office (February 1886). 

The amendment did not expressly con- 
tain the principle of compulsion, and the 
speech of Mr Collings is not binding upon 
the House of Commons or the Govern- 
ment. But, as Mr Chaplin rather neatly 
put it on the night of his last appearance 
as Chancellor of the Duchy, ' the voice is 
the voice of Jesse, the hand is the 
hand of Joseph. D. N.. 26th February 
1886. ' 




(Hong-Kong). A swell, a 
From joss, the name of the 


Keep the Devil Out of One's Clothes 

figures of Chinese gods, with the 
personal 'er' added. Suggested by 
observation of the request paid by the 
Chinese to the 'joss'. 

Jubilee (Mid. Class, 1887). The 
Jubilee (1887) came to be applied in 
many ways but one, satirically 
descriptive of supremacy chiefly 

Judaic superbacey (C. Garden and 
vicinity, 1897). Jew in all the glory 
of his best clothes generally a young 
Joseph, or a young old David. 

Judy - slayer (London, Jewish). 

Juggins's boy (L. Lond., 1882). 
The sharp and impudent son of a 
stupid and easily ridiculed father. 

Juggins-hunting (Tavern). Look- 
ing for a man who will pay for liquor. 

Jumbo (London, 1882). Anything 
particularly large and striking became 
a 'jumbo' there being at this time a 
large elephant of that name in the Zoo. 

The vulgar assert that Epsom is a very 
hotbed of training theories, and it must 
be admitted that it has its peculiarities 
in this direction. Nay, did it not pro- 
duce the genial Mr Ellis, whom the 
wicked called 'Jumbo'? E. N., 23rd 
January 1896. 

Mr Ellis was a big, heavy, solemn 
official. Some months after Jumbo's 
expatriation, a very tall man appeared 
in Drury Lane Theatre, and all the 
boys on hand, yelled ' Jumbo ' ; an 
amiable Bavarian eight-foot giantess 
was trotted out at a music hall she 
was at once baptised Jumba by the 
very press itself. 

Jumbo (Tavern, 1882). The 
Elephant and Castle Tavern, S. 
London. (See Animal.) 

Jumboism (Polit., 1882). The 
Liberals having invented Jingoism 
to describe the warlike tendency of 
the Conservative party, this latter 
took advantage of the Jumbo craze to 
dub the hesitative policy of the Liberal 
Whigs jumboism. 

Jump bail (Anglo-American). To 
run away from it. Both jumped their 

Jumped up swell (Street). Sudden 
leap from rags to royal raiment ; also 
a ton in a hurry. 

Jumping Moses (Amer. - Eng.). 

Exclamation equivalent to Great 

June too-too (Peoples', 1897). June 
22 in 1897 the celebration of the 
sixtieth anniversary of the Queen's 
reign. Survival, or rather resuscita- 
tion of the phrase 'too-too', satirically 
directed against sestheticism in the 
'80's meaning (satirically) too, too 
good. Here used as a comic variation 
of ' 22 'two two. 

Jupiter Scapin (Parisian, 1810). 
Napoleon I. Used in England now 
and again to indicate a tricky minister. 

Just ached (American). Longed. 

Just too sweet for anything 
(American). Highest form of praise. 

K.A.B.G.N.A.L.S. (Myttic). The 
letters of back slang (less the needless 
'c'), and uttered rapidly to indicate 
that this mode of conversation will be 
agreeable to speaker. Another form is 
Kabac genals. 

Kangaroo (Nautical in origin). A 
tall, thin man, especially ill-shaped 
and round-shouldered. 

Kansas neck -blister (American). 

The same with a knife. Horsemen, 
when travelling, carry it in the boot, and 
footmen down the neck ; hence a bowie- 
knife is popularly known as a 'Kansas 
neck-blister'. All Year Round, 31st 
October 1883. 

Kaps walla (N. American- Indian). 
To steal adopted from the original by 
American thieves. 

Katterzem (Scotland). Quartor- 
sieme. A man willing to go out dining 
at a moment's notice a parasite. 

Kee gee (E. London, 1860). Go, 

Keep off the grass (Peoples'). Be 

Keep the boiler clear (Engineers', 
1840). Watch your stomach in 
reference to health. 

Keep the devil out of one's clothes 
(American probably from Dutch). 
To fight against poverty. 


Keep up Old Queen 

Kicked the Cat 

Keep up, old queen (Street). Vale- 
diction addressed by common women 
to a sister being escorted into a prison 

Keep yer 'air on (L. Class, 1800 on). 
A favourite monitory proverb recom- 
mending patience as distinct from 
impatience, and tearing the 'air off. 

Keep your nose clean (Army). 
Avoid drink. 

Keep yourself good all through 
(Soc., 1882). Modern paraphrase of 
Keep yourself unspotted from the 

Keeping Dovercourt (E. Anglia). 
Making a great noise. Dovercourt 
(Essex) was once celebrated for its 
scolds this we have on the authority 
of Halliwell. On the other hand the 
term may come from the great noise 
made by a local insect called the 
Dovercourt beetle. 

Kemble pipe (Hereford). Last pipe 
of the evening. An ancestor of John 
Kemble, a Catholic priest, suffered 
martyrdom at Hereford, in the 
seventeenth century. On his way 
to execution he smoked his pipe 
and conversed with his friends. 

Kenealyism (Soc., 1874). Social 
method composed of alternate pro- 
found humility and complete rebuke 
supposed to have been invented 
from Dr Kenealy, who in this year 
defended Arthur Orton, called 'the 
claimant', upon a charge of perjury. 
Orton claimed to be Sir Roger Tich- 

Kentucky loo (Students'). Summer 
gaming operation. (See Fly loo.) 

Kepple's snob (Naval, 1870). Ex- 
pression of scorn by superfine naval 
young officers. ' The Kepple's Head ', 
named after the admiral. The uaval 
clubmen have converted knob into 
snob. ' Cut him he puts up at the 
"Kepple's snob".' 

Kerwollop (Amer., 19 cent.). To 
beat, or wallop. ' Ker ' is also fre- 
quently used before words implying 
movement, as kersmash, kerbang, 
kerash (crash), kerflummux, kerslap. 
(See Artemus Ward' I went kerwallop 
over the fence.') 

Kew (Reverse Slang). Week spelt 
with one ' e '. 

Key-vee (Peoples', 1862). Alert, on 
the key-vee of course a corruption 

of ' qui vive,' the French sentry 

Khaki is a tint once called Devon- 
shire grey. It was recommended by a 
military convention (1882) to replace 
the scarlet cloth of the British army 
this scarlet being condemned in conse- 
quence of its offering a ready mark for 
the distant bullet. 

Khaki (Military, February 1900). 
Volunteer especially yeomanry 
volunteer for the Boer war, 1899-1900. 
Applied in all ways to pease-pudding 
amongst many, from the colour. 
Hence resulted in common eating- 
houses the order, 'Cannon and Khaki,' 
i.e., round beef-steak pudding and a 
dump of pease -pudding. 

Kibe ? ( University). To whose 
benefit ? Abbreviation of ' cui bono '. 

Kick (A nglo-A merican) . To succeed 
in pleasing audience. 

Kick (Costermongers'). Trousers 
short for kicksies, probably from the 
garment being that in which the 
wearer uses his boots at angles. Or it 
may be from ' quelques choses'. 

'That dona's dotty,' said Obadiah, as 
he gazed upon his half-a-dollar, and put 
it carefully away in his only kick ; ' and 
now for a jolly spree.' 

If the burick (wife) wears the kicksies, 
that's your luck, not ours. 

Kick is also used by thieves for 
1 pocket ', probably because the kicksies 
or trousers have pockets. Fine example 
of application of the title of a whole 
to a portion. 

When your kick is empty, and your 
mouth is dry, your blooming pals will not 
give you a yannep to get a drop of four 

Kick (Trade-tailors'). To seek for 
work probably suggested by a 
barbarous mode of kicking at a door, 
before knocker or bell was invented. 

Kick a lung out (Anglo- Amer.). 
Severe castigation. 

Kick into dry goods (American). 
To dress clothes being dry goods. 

Kick up my dust in the park (Soc. ). 
Promenade there. From French 'Faire 
ma poussiere aux Champs Elysees '. 

Kick out (Anglo-American). Die 
from the frequent nervous move- 
ment of the legs as death approaches. 

Kicked the cat (L. Class]. Shown 
signs of domestic dissatisfaction, 


Kid- Catcher 

Knock Along 

Kid-catcher (L. School Board, 1869 
on). L.S.B. official who beat up 
school tenants. 

Coroner: How did you escape the 
school board officers ? Witness : I don't 
know how I managed to escape the ' kid- 
catcher', sir, but I did it. People, 30th 
August 1896. 

Kill who? (Peoples', 1870 on). 
Satirical protest against a threat, and 
an assertion of quiet bravery. 

Kill with kindness (Peoples'). This 
phrase is not generally understood ; 
supposed to be literal. Really means 
to cause shame by overwhelming with 
satirical attentions a person who has 
misbehaved himself. It is not forgive- 
ness, but retaliation. 

Killing the canary (Bricklayers'). 
Shirking work. 

Kilmainham (Political, 1882). 
Compromise. Said of an arrangement 
in which each of two parties concedes 
something to the other in order that 
a third party may be defeated. Took 
its rise early in 1882, when the Con- 
servative opposition unintentionally 
brought about the Kilmainham Treaty. 

Kin'd (Soc., 1884). Satirical pro- 
nunciation of kind. Result of Barrett's 
production of Hamlet (October 1884) 
wherein he made this reading ' A little 
more than kin and less than kin'd.' 

Kingsman of the rortiest (Sporting, 
early 19 cent.). Square, folded necktie 
of high colours. 

Kippers (Navy). Stokers. Very prob- 
ably because they are so smoke-dried, 
and dark of complexion. 

Kiss-curl (Peoples', 1854-60). Flat 
temple curl, abandoned by middle- 
class in 1860 or about. Still seen in 
S.E. London, where it is patronised 
by the street belles of that locality. 

Kite (American, 19 cent.). The 

Kite, Blow out the (Com. Lond.). 
To have a full stomach suggested 
either by an inflated bladder, or a 
soldier's full ' kit '. 

Klobber (E. London). Jewish for 
best or state clothes generally. 

Kate Vaughan was perhaps a trifle too 
dainty, and I fancy any Kitty so circum- 
stanced, on the sudden return of master 
in the midst of unlawful revelry, would 
have taken some pains to cover up the 
resplendent and unaccustomed ' klobber ' 

I believe that is the aristocratic term, 
Kate ought to know, now donned for 
the occasion. Ref., 17th May 1885. 
1 And belted knight 
Isn't such a sight 
As Becky Moss in her klobr.' 

' So I klobbered myself up as well 
as circs would permit.' 

K' mither (Provincial). Corruption 
of "Come hither" a woman of the 

Klondyke (Peoples', 1897 on). Mad 
not fit to be trusted. From the 
craze that set in August 1897 around 
the Klondyke gold-bearing district. 

Klondyke fever (July, 1897). 
Rush for gold in British Columbia. 
Began in this month, increased as the 
year waned. 

Klondike gold fever has 'caught on' 
in the City. . . . D. T., 31st July 1897. 

Knapsack descent (Peoples'). 
Soldiers in a family, either on the 
father's or mother's side, and very 
possibly both. 

Knee-drill (Peoples', 1882). Hypo- 
critical praying. Derived from the 
military terms introduced into prayer 
meetings by the Salvation Army. 

Knickerbocker (N. York). Man or 
woman in best society in New York. 
Accepted from opponents and made 
a class word. 

Knife (Lowest Lond., 19 cent.). A 
shrew suggestive of being ' into you ' 
in a moment. 

Knife (Theatrical, 1880 on). Con- 
dense a piece. Knife is now modified 
into blue pencil. 

Knife and fork tea (Middle Class, 
1874). Vulgarisation of high tea (see). 

Knights of the Jemmy (Soc., 
19 cent.). Burglars the arms of the 
cavaliers in question being jemmies ; 
the modern name for short crow-bars. 

Some seasons ago the place was over- 
run by knights of the jemmy, who com- 
mitted their depredations on other 
people's property in the coolest manner 
possible, and yet contrived to evade 
capture. Z>. T., 8th August 1896. 

Knock about drolls. (See Athletic 

Knock along (Austral.). To idle. 

There is an Australian phrase, isn't 
there, with reference to an idle fellow? 
they say &he goes 'knocking along'. I 


Knock Fairly Silly 


am not aware that it is an Australian 
phrase. We get our bad language from 

The Lord Chief Justice: Knocking 
along ' is not an English phrase. It is 
' knocking about '. 

Dr Kenealy: Well, it is 'knocking 
along '. I Hon't think it an improvement 
on the English phrase. Tichborne Case, 

Knock fairly silly (Lower Class] 
Almost, if not quite annihilated. 

Capt. Thatcher said that when they 
first came in touch with the Boers they 
expected to be attacked, and they were. 
But they ' knocked the Boers fairly silly ' 
and then made for Krugersdorp at a 
hand-gallop all the way. People, 16th 
February 1896. 

Knock in (Costermongers'). To 
make money into the pocket under- 

Knock in (Club). Make one at a 
card table. 

Knock off corners (Music Hall, 
1880). Be successful. 

Just as Arthur Williams had com- 
menced to 'knock corners off' at the 
music hall, he is once more summoned 
to the Gaiety. More study ! Entr'acte, 
16th April 1885. 

Knock -upable (Soc.). Open to 
being knocked up. 

For some time I have been weak and 
knock-upable. G. Eliot's Life, vol. i., 
p. 440. 

Knocker on the front door 
(Peoples'). Achieve respectibility. 

Knows how many go to a dozen 
(Hist.). Sharp. Even to this day 
many things are sold thirteen to the 
dozen especially books and news- 
papers. ' Thirteen ' is generally called 
a baker's dozen from thirteen loaves 
being sold as a dozen, exactly as 
thirteen rolls in our days go to the 

Knuckle end (Cornwall). The 
extreme west of the duchy the Land's 
End, so named from its shape. 

Kodak (Soc., 1890 on). To sur- 
reptitiously obtain shape-information. 
From the snap-shot photographic 
camera named after its inventor. 

We are watching him (Sir Henry 
Irving, Richard 111.), our eyes are 
riveted on his face, we are interested in 
the workings of his mind, we are secretly 
kodaking every expression, however 
slight. D. T., 21st December 1896. 

Kollah (Hebr.- Yiddish). A bride. 
Often spelled calloh (q.v.). 

Kop-gee (Peoples', 1899). Last 
discovery of the century for head 
from the Transvaal kopje or mound. 

Kosal Kasa (Hebrew Trade). 
Is. 6d. the Hebrew words for '!' 
and ' 6 '. 

Kosher (E. Lond., Judaic). Pure 
undefiled. Word used by the Jews 
in reference to eatables, and especially 
alcoholic drinks at certain feasts of the 
year, especially Passover and Pentecost. 
The word is here written phonetically, 
but in actuality the vowels are omitted 
K SH R, or rather R SH K, to be 
very precise. The antithesis of this 
word is Trifer unclean, unholy, 
written T R F R. 

Kruger - spoof (Peoples', 1896). 
Lying. From the promises of fair 
dealing forwarded in January 1896, 
made by the President of the Transvaal 
republic, and not kept. 

Kwy (Fast Life, 1800-40). First 
syllable of ' quietus ' death. 

Kyacting (Navy). Jocularity 
during work. 

'Here, knock off that "kyacting", 
will you?' an irate P.O. will say if he 
sees a youngster playing the fool instead 
of attending to his work. Rev. G. 
Goodenough, R.N. 

Kypher (L. Class). To dress hair 
from the French ' eoiffer '. 

L., The (N. York, 1880 on). The 
Elevated Railway. 

We have in New York a rich man who 
is almost the counterpart of Hetty Green. 
I refer to Mr Russell Sage. He was once 
associated with Jay Gould, and between 
them they engineered the ' L,' or Elevated 
Railroad of New York, much to their 
advantage, as most people imagine. 
D. T., 18th February 1897. 

L. L. (Dublin Tavern). Best 
whisky. Initials of Lord Lieutenant. 

L. L. (Financial, 1870 on). Initials 
of Limited Liability, and used satiri- 
cally to suggest fraud. 

La ! (Suburban London). Nimminy- 




pimminy for the vulgar ' lor ! ' which 
is an abbreviation of the exclamation 

La-di-da (Street). Elegant leisure, 
and liberal expenditure. 

Laagered (S. African). Waggon- 
defence. The waggons are zig-zagged 
in line or in square, so that the head of 
one waggon is half way down the side 
of the next thus giving an extended 
firing line, while the length of the 
waggon is used to offer its fullest 
protection as compared with its width. 

For several hours after we were - 
laagered in position on Monday to 
receive the attack, concealed behind 
trees and tall grass, their sharp-shooters 
kept up a scathing fire. D. N>, 29th 
January 1885. 

Lady from the ground up 

(American). (See Perfect Lady.) 

Lady in the straw (Hist.). 'Our 
Lady in the Straw' referring to the 
stable in which the Redeemer was 
born. An old popular oath. 

Lady Jane (Soc., 1882). A stout, 
handsome, cheery woman. 

Lally-gagging (American Peoples'). 
Flirting origin probably Dutch. 

You see, Pa has been in a habit lately 
of going to the store a good deal and 
lally -gagging with the girl clerks. Bad 
Boy, 1883. 

Lamartinism (Literary). Goody- 
goody. Lamartine introduced the 
novelty, in historical writing, of 
maintaining that everybody has 
always acted for the best, whatever 
his action, in the best of possible 
worlds. Term used scornfully since 
1848 in French literature. Now 
sometimes exercised deprecatingly at 
Oxford, and in London. 

Lambeth (Peoples', S. L.). Wash. 
From the popular cleansing place in 
S. London being the Lambeth baths. 

Lambies (Navy). Mizzen-top men. 

Lame as St. Giles Cripplegate, 
As (Peoples' Hist.). Very lame 
applied to a badly-told untruth. St. 
Giles was the patron saint of cripples, 
as distinct from St. Martin, who was 
the patron of all beggars. Cripples, 
therefore, had two saintly patrons. 
St. Giles's, London, was just under 
London Wall at its most northern 
point, and was St. Giles's Without 
that is, outside the city. It abutted 


on the great north gate, and the 
church being frequented (in Roman 
Catholic times) by cripples in great 
numbers many of them being 
fraudulent limpers the gate came 
to be called Cripplegate ; and this 
phrase suggested a lame excuse. The 
great bastion near the north gate is 
still represented by about half of it. 

Land Navy (Cadgers'). Imitation 

Land o' Cakes (Historical). 

It was my firm intention when I 
returned from my little Scotch tour to 
write glowing accounts of the scenery 
of 'the land of cakes.' G. R. Sims, 
Ref., 5th October 1884. 

Land o' Scots (Eng. - American, 
1884). Heaven. 

'Lane (Theatrical). Classic term 
became popular for Drury Lane 

Langtries (Society, 1880). Fine 
eyes. Mrs Langtry, whose portraits 
as a celebrated beauty had been seen 
for years in shop windows, suddenly 
became popular (1882) by appearing 
on the stage in England and America, 
where immense crowds were attracted. 

Language (Peoples'), Sheer swear- 
ing. Satire upon violent expressions. 

Meanwhile a scramble has been taking 
place between two omnibuses behind for 
the lead of the road, illustrated by a free 
use of what is called 'language.' D. N., 
1st August 1890. 

Language of flowers (Bow Street 
Police Court, 1860-83). Ten shillings 
or seven days ; the favourite sentence 
of Mr Flowers, a very popular and 
amiable magistrate at this court for 
many years. 

Lap (Co/ee-house). Tea. 

Lapsy lingo (Peoples'). Corruption 
of lapsus linguce. 

Lard - king (Anglo - American). 
Typical Cincinnati millionaire, whose 
fortune is based upon pig. 

Lardy - dardy (Peoples', 1862). 

Large - heads (Anglo - Amer.). 

Large-sized scare (Amer.). Wild 

Lassitudinarian (Soc., 1894 on). 
Satirical evolution from valetudinarian. 

Last Bit o' Family Plate 

Leave yer 'Omer 

Evasive term for a constitutionally 
lazy man. 

... an occupation, by the way, exactly 
suiting a ' lassitudinarian ' temperament. 
D. T., 4th February 1897. 

Last bit o' family plate (Artisans'). 
Final silver coin. 

Last shake o' the bag (Peoples' 
old). Youngest child. 

Latch - key (Irish Constabulary, 
1881-82). Crowbar name given by 
the Irish Constabulary to the crowbar, 
as the too frequent key with which 
they had to open house doors when in 
the process of eviction. 

Law (Police). Advantage, start, 
privilege. Invented by the police. 

The defendants were placed in the 
police van and driven off under the very 
noses of their would-be persecutors, who 
were quite unaware that their prey had 
escaped them. Having given the van a 
good extent of 'law', the crowd were 
allowed to go where they wished, but only 
in time to find that they had been out- 
witted. D. N., 15th September 1885. 

Law's - a - me (Hist. now chiefly 
used in U.S.A.). Lord save me. 

He's full of the Old Scratch, but laws- 
a-me he's my own dead sister's boy ! 
Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, p. 19. 

Lay (lie) on the face (Peoples'). 
Dissipate exorbitantly. 

Lea toff (Local Lond.). A youth of 
social aspirations, chiefly in relation to 
Sunday ; one who displays his distinc- 
tion, in a hired boat, rowing up and 
down the River Lea. 

Lead poisoning (W. America). 
Active bullets. 

Very recently a gentleman who was at 
once editor of a local newspaper and 
town constable found it necessary to 
relinquish the latter post in consequence 
of a disease which he euphemistically 
termed ' lead -poisoning ', the result of 
being shot through part of the lungs by 
a desperado of the township under his 
care. D. N., 27th March 1883. 

Leaden pill sometimes Leaden 
favour (Anglo-American). Bullet. 

Leadenhall market sportsman 
(Sporting, 1870). Landowner who 
sells his game to Leadenhall market 

The true foxhunter loathes the pre- 
server of pheasants as ' an old woman ', 
or ' a Leadenhall-market sportsman ' ; 
while the latter rages at the wholesale 

destruction of his costly game by the 
fox. D. N., llth November 1885. 

Leaderette (Press, 1875). When, 
probably borrowing from the French, 
the idea of lightening journalism, short 
pithy 'leaders' were introduced, a 
technical name was to be found for 
them, and ' leaderette ' was the result. 

Leading article (Trade, 1870). A 
term used to denote the best bargain 
in the shop one that should lead to 
other purchases. 

Leading heavies (Theat.). Middle- 
aged women's serious roles. 

I am an actress. I was in Mr 
O'Connor's company during his engage- 
ment at the Star Theatre, playing the 
' leading heavies ' throughout that en- 
gagement. I was to receive 12 dollars 
a week and expenses. N. Y. Mercury, 
9th June 1888. 

Leak (Anglo-American, 1880). To 

Leaky (Peoples'). Talkative when 

Learn by rote (Scholastic). Learn 
by the road, route, or rut that is to 
say, without intelligence, perfunctorily. 

Learning shover (Com. London, 
1869 on). Schoolmaster took its rise 
at the institution of the London School 

Leather and prunella (Middle- Class 
ancient). Expresses flimsiness. A 
corruption of ' All lather and prunella ' 
the ' lather ' being whipped cream, 
the ' prunella ' probably damson puree 
or plum jelly. Sometimes used to 
express humbug. 

Then who shall say so good a fellow, 
Was only leather and prunella. Don 


The Foreign Office regards all the 
organised cheerfulness of the last few 
days' Chinese diplomatic blandishments 
and promises, edicts and telegrams, 
alike, as so much leather and prunella. 
Z). T., 24th July 1900. 

Leave them to fry in their own fat 

(Plantagenet English). This phrase is 
equal to Give him rope enough and 
he'll hang himself. The phrase was 
brought into fashion again by Prince 
Bismarck, who (1871) after the partial 
retirement of the German forces, 
applied it to Parisians and their 

Leave yer 'omer (L. Class 
Women's). A handsome, dashing 



man. This is derived, very satirically, 
from 'That's the man I'm goin* to 
leave me 'ome for '. Good example of 
street sentiment. 

Leccers (Oxford 'er'). Lectures 
both 'c's'hard. 

Each man attends as cheerfully as he 
can his 'leccers'. I). T., 14th August 

Left centre (PoliL, 1885). Whig. 
Bestowed by advanced Liberals on 
cautious Liberal party. 

Thiers used to say that France was 
essentially Left Centre, and that power 
would come to the party of the most 
prudent./). N., 20th October 1885. 

Left her purse on her piano 
(Peoples', 19 cent.). Satirical hit at 

Left the minority (Soc. , 1879). No 
longer with the living. 

Poor ' Benefit Thompson ' has left the 
minority. Entr'acte, 30th April 1885. 

Leg (Fast Society, 1860). Footman 
from the display of the lower limbs. 
Leg maniac (Stage, 1880 on). 
Eccentric, rapid dancer. 

Mr Fred Storey holds a unique position 
as a ' leg maniac ' horrible term ! 
D. T., 3rd December 1896. 
Leg up (Peoples'). Help. 
Legit (Theatrical). Shortening of 
legitimate, in its turn the curtailing 
of the legitimate drama. 

Leisure hours (Rhyming). Flowers. 
Leisured rich (Soc. t 1885). In- 
vented by Mr Gladstone. 

Lemon squash party (Soc., 1882). 
A meeting of young men, initially at 
Oxford, when nothing was drunk but 
this preparation. 

Lemoncholy (Transposition 
London). Melancholy. 

Lend us your breath to kill Jumbo 
(Low London). Protest against the 
odour of bad breath. 

Length of the foot (Irish). Com- 
prehend and manipulate the victim. 

Does the enterprising tradesman who 
thus shields himself behind magisterial 
patronage undertake to teach the 
district the length of Mr Bushby's foot ? 
D. N., 18th August 1884. 

Lengthy (Parl., 1875). Used by 
both houses for 'long'. 

The fine people who think it elegant 
to say ' lengthy ' when they mean ' long ', 
though they have not yet come to say 

'strengthy' when they mean 'strong', 
are fond of saying 'utilise' when they 
mean use. Z). N., April 1883. 

Let, To (Art). Sparsely - filled 

Let 'em all come (Peoples', 1896). 
Cheery defiance. Outcome of the 
plucky way in which the British, in 
the first days in the new year, accepted 
the message of congratulation by the 
Emperor of Germany to President 
Kruger on the repulse of the Jameson 
raid ; followed next day by the im- 
perial message sent by President of 
the U.S.A., apropos to the English 
boundary dispute with Venezuela ; 
both followed by some defiant com- 
ments in the French press. 

Let her rip (English-American, 1840 
onwards). Let her go as she wants. 
This phrase has a very striking history. 
"When rival river steam-boats were 
fully established on the Mississippi 
and other American rivers, the rival 
captains would put on every ounce of 
steam in order to keep ahead. Too 
frequently the boiler would burst, or 
'rip', as emphatically it would when 
bursting. ' Let her rip ' came to be 
a common expression amongst these 
captains when more timid passengers 
or sensible sub-officers urged him to 
lower the steam pressure. 

Let out (American). Releases 
very emphatic. 

' Well, sah, I wanted to ax how many 
kinds of religun you had up dat way ? ' 
' Oh, about a dozen, I guess.' 
' Cracky, golly ! ' he whispered, ' but 
dat lets me out ! 'Detroit Free Press, 

Let out your back - band 
(American). Be more familiar and 
friendly in your statement. 

I ax you let out your back band a little 
on that last statement. 

Let through (Peoples'). (1) Escape ; 
(2) Cause injury. 

Let up (Anglo-American). Make 
an end. From 'letting' or lifting 
up the engine bar which, down, puts all 
steam on. To end pressure. 

Lethal (Press, 19 cent.). Mortal. 
From the waters of Lethe. Now 
applied by careless writers to any mode 
of violent death. 

It is always understood among the 
most distinguished members of the pro- 
fessionthe higher burglarious circles, 


Lion Chang 

as they are called that nothing but the 
direst necessity shall ever make them 
use a revolver or other lethal weapon. 
He/., 3rd February 1889. 

Letter - fencers (London). Post- 

Levenses (E. Anglican). Lunch 
the meals of the elevens, whence this 
pleonastic plural has been evolved. 

Liberal forwards (Political, 1898). 
Modified Radicals without fads. 

' Liberal forwards ' as Mr George 
Kussell's party styles itself are 
notoriously suspicious of the reactionary 
designs which they attribute to Lord 
Salisbury. Z>. T., 2nd February 1899. 

Lick into shape (Com.). To get 
ready. Obviously from animals, 
especially bears, licking their young. 

It had not been thought necessary to 
lick the piece into shape. The result 
was most laughable ; the last act created 
more laughter than has done any farce 
for years. Stage, 21st Auguat 1885. 

Lie down and die (Anglo 
American). Despair. 

Lie down to rest (Amer. - Eng., 
Street). Fail, come to an end, a 
dramatic company which has collapsed. 
Often seen, in the past tense, in 
American graveyards ; finally it passed 
into a colloquialism. (See Climb the 
golden staircase. ) 

Henderson's Uncle Tom Company laid 
down to rest at Dunkirk, Ohio, on 
Tuesday. N. Y. Mercury. December 

Reached England about 1883. 

Life and everlasting (Peoples', 
Hist.). Complete, final, without 
appeal especially applied to sales. 

His Honour : Why didn't you jib, and 
take the horse back then ? 

Defendant: I took it back the next 
morning. When he sold it he said 'it 
was for life and everlasting'. D. T., 
23rd November 1897. 

Lift up (N. Eng. Methodists'). To 

Lifter (Stable). Kicking horse, one 
which lifts. 

Lifu (Motor car, 1897). Reduction 
of liquid fuel (paraffin or other oil). 

Starting punctually to time, the Lifu, 
which takes its name from the liquid 
fuel (oil) which it uses, as the odour 
proclaims, arrived at London Bridge. 
D. T., 17th December 1897. 


Light - comedy merchant 

(Theatrical). Comedian pure and 

Despite its title, The Mormon, has no 
connection with the followers of Brigham 
Young, and the scene is laid not at Salt 
Lake City, but at Eamsgate; a very light- 
comedy merchant, the Hon. Charles 
Nugent, being heavily in debt. Ref.. 
13th March 1887. 

Light - food (Lower Peoples'). 
Tobacco for chewing as a repast very 

Light-house (Navy}. Pepper-castor. 

Lightning curtain - taker 

(Theatrical, 1884). A curtain-taker 
(q.v.), who does not wait for much 
applause (which he may not receive), 
and who therefore rushes on upon the 
least approbation. (See Take a 
curtain, Fake a curtain.) 

Lights up (Theat., circa, 1900). 
Condemnation of a new piece on the 
first night of its production (see Boo). 
Chiefly the decision of the gallery. 

Like to meet her in the dark 
(L. Class, 1884). Plain. 

Lime-juice (Theatrical, 1875). 
Lime light. 

Limerick (Peoples'). Queer and 
coarse rhymes, like 'There was a 
young lady of Lea,' etc. Some say 
this style of rhyme was called 
Limericks because all the specimens 
go to a tune to the original words, 
' Won't you come up up up 
Won't you come up to Limerick ? ' 

Lincoln & Bennett (Soc., 1840 on). 
Superior hat. From makers' name. 
(See Dorsay, Nicholls, Poole, Redfern.) 

Lined (Low Life). Passive voice of 
active verb to line, and derived from 
certificate of marriage. 

Link and froom (Street, Hebrew). 

' Dolly ', who was a Jewess, but one 
who was link rather than froom, was 
about forty years old at the time of her 
death. Ref., 3rd February 1889. 

Linkman ( W. London). General 
man-servant about kitchen or yard. 

Lion Chang (Fugitive Ang., 1896). 
Jocular Anglicising of the name of Li 
Hung Chang and referring to his 
fleeting popularity. He arrived in the 
beginning of the month, went to 
America before the end of it, and in 
the meantime was dubbed long Lion 
Chang. His entourage also obtained, 

Lion Comique 


in several instances, droll names. Lo 
Feng Luh became Loafing Loo, Vis- 
count Li became Lud Lulliety, and 
Seng became S'eng-song. 

Lion comique (Music Hall, 1880). 
This term was a way of describing a 
leading comic singer. 

Changes of fancy and taste have 
abolished the ' lion comique ', as he was 
known to an antecedent generation, and 
the death of Mr Macdermott practically 
snaps the last link. D. T., 9th May 

Liqueur of four ale (City, satirical). 
Precisely as the common folk make 
fun of cheap food and give it impressive 
titles such as calling sheep's head 
broth turtle soup ; so middle - class 
young city men chaff their drinks. 
The most expensive liqueur, green 
Chartreuse would be eighteenpence 
while four ale (City sherry) is the 
cheapest. Phrase really means, *a 
glass of bitter' beer understood. 

Liquor (Public - house keepers'). 
Euphemism for the water used in 
adulterating beer. 

Listening to oneself (Irish, old). 

Little beg (Pub. Sch. ). Abbreviation 
of little beggar friendly term applied 
by upper form to lower form boys. 

Little bit o' keg (L. Class). Keg- 
meg meat, that is, common meat 

Little bit of sugar for the bird 
(Peoples', 1897). Premium, unexpected 
benefit, surprise, acquisition. 

She applied for five Ordinary shares at 
1 premium, paying 2, 10s. with her 
application, and on allotment she paid 
up the balance, 7, 10s. in full. She 
held all the shares when the corporation 
was wound up, and received nothing for 
her money. 

You didn't get anything of Goodman's 
'little bit of sugar'? (Laughter. ) No. 
D. T., 24th December 1898. 

Little deers (Soc. Anglo- American). 
Young women generally associated, 
or declaring themselves to be associated, 
with the stage. New spelling of 
' dears ' to form a feminine to stags. 

Little go (Thieves'). First im- 
prisonment, first invented by a fallen 
university man. 

Little Ireland (1879). The then 
Home Rule brigade in the House of 

Little more Charley behind 

(Theatrical). More lumbar width 
speaking of feminine dress or costume. 

Little season (Society, 1880 on). 
London season between 6th January 
and Shrove Tuesday. The real season 
begins about 15th April and ends with 

London has been during the last few 
years not only full of visitors after Easter, 
but has developed a pre-Lenten or 'little' 
season, as it is called. D. N., 6th July 

Little whack (Drinking men's). 
Small quantity of spirits. 

You may choose for the moment of 
illustration either your going into or your 
coming out of the Carnarvon Arms ; 
where you intend to have or where you 
have had your little whack. Besant & 
Bice, Golden Butterfly, vol. i., ch. xii. 

Live down (Soc., 1870). To over- 
come by strenuous patience. 

When it took six months to go from 
India to England they made the most of 
a bad situation, and tried to live down 
heat and care. (Indian Hospitality) 
Graphic, 17th March 1883. 

Live messages ( Telegraphers', 1870). 
Messages in course of transition. 

In the telegraph department dining 
accommodation has been provided, 
because it is thought undesirable that 
those who are engaged in the trans- 
mission of telegraph messages should 
leave the premises during their period 
of duty. With what are called 'live 
messages ' fresh in their minds, there is 
felt to be an objection to their adjourn- 
ing to neighbouring restaurants. D. N., 
27th September 1883. 

Live on (L. Peoples'). Fine girl or 
woman. (See Leave yer 'ome.) 

Live up to (Esthetic, 1878-83). 
Exist purely up to a pure standard. 
Invented by Du Maurier (Punch). 
Phrase used quite seriously by the 
Burne Jones school. (See Apostle of 
culture. ) 

Living bache (Soc.). Life in 
chambers living like a bachelor. 

Living with mother now (Music 
Hall, 1881). The refrain of a doubtful 
song, in which this answer is made by 
the young person to all the blandish- 
ments of her inamorato. 

Lizards (American). Men of 


Loaferies, The 

Look into the Whites 

Loaferies, The (E. London). 
Whitechapel Workhouse from the 
tenderness shown towards the inmates. 
In 1898 the guardians even wished to 
do away with the term workhouse. 

No very luminous suggestions were 
forthcoming as to a new title, though 
one of the guardians thought ' Paradise ' 
a fitting change. The others, however, 
seemed to consider this a little previous. 
Perhaps 'House of Repose' or 'The 
Loaferies ' would be considered appro- 
priate. Mr Perez remarked that what- 
ever the new name, in a few years it 
would be as \inpopular as the old one. 
D. T., 10th February 1898. 

Loan (American). Lend, now 
becoming English. Has been accepted 
probably as a euphemism. 

Such a term as ' I will loan you my dog 
Schneider' is hardly British. D. N.. 

Loathly (London Chib, October 
1897). Offensive. 

This savage sacrificial feat, performed 
with horrible frequency by Bitchlieli and 
his reverend subordinates on the 
' teocalli ', or green stone, surmounting 
the shrines of the loathly idols that were 
eventually overthrown and destroyed by 
Hernan Cortes. D. T.. 24th December 

Lobby (Amer. coming to Eng.). 
To corrupt by process. To attempt to 
exercise an influence on members of a 
legislative body by persons not members 
who attend the session of a legislative 
body for the purpose of influencing the 

Lobby through (Amer. passing to 
Eng.). Is to get a bill accepted by 

Loblifer (Cornwall). Luck -bringing 
mannikin. Probably a corruption of 
Lob-lie-by-the-fire from this genius 
being fond of warmth after his damp 
cave abode. 

' Lob-Lie-by-the-Fire,' is a pretty story 
of farm life and rustic folk, in which 
mysterious agrarian services rendered by 
an unseen benefactor awaken all the old 
country superstitions. D. N., 17th 
December 1885. 

Local pot. (See Pot.) 

Locate (American). To settle. 

Locked up (Street). Arrested. 

Locust (Soc. ). Extravagant person 
who sweeps everything away. 

Locum (Doctors'). Deputy short 
for locum tenens. Sometimes Moke' 

a medical man who performs for 
another who is ill or away. 

Lolliker (Durham old). Tongue. 

Lollipop dress (Theatrical, 1884). 
Stripy dress, generally red and white, 
suggestive of sticks of confectionery. 

London, Best side towards 
(Peoples'). Making the best of every- 
thing. Good example of the national 
desire to battle through adversity. 
Derived from the desire of all country 
people to visit London for themselves, 
and make their fortunes, though its 
street are not paved with gold. 

London ivy (Colloquial). Dust 
sometimes used for fog. 

London smoke (Soc., 1860). A 
yellowish grey ; became once a favourite 
colour because it hid dirt. 

Long last (Eng. Prov.). Time or 
period spaciously waited for. 

At long last Sir George White and his 
gallant garrison are free. Lord Dun 
donald rode into Ladysmith on Wednes- 
day night. D. T., 2nd March 1900. 

Long pull (Public - house). Over- 
measure, either as a custom, or to 
induce trade. 

Long - shore (Maritime). Land- 
lubber ; coast people who have the 
misfortune not to be sailors. 

But what would have been the alarm 
of those timid ' long-shore ' races if they 
could have imagined the present dangers 
of the deep. D. N., 6th January 1886. 

Long stale drunk (American- Eng. , 
1884). State of depression owing to 
physical inability to throw off the 
effects of intoxication. 

. . . recovery from what our American 
cousins describe as a ' long stale drunk '. 
Ref., 9th April 1885. 

Long-tailed bear (Peoples', Hist.). 
One of the evasions of saying 'you 
lie'. From the fact that bears have 
no tails. 

Long 'un (Poachers'). Pheasant- 
referring to the length of the tail. 
(See Short-'un.) 

Long's (Strand, 19 cent.). Short's 
wine-house opposite Somerset House. 

Look into the whites (Peoples') 
' Of each other's eyes ' understood. To 
be about to fight from the fact that 
the eyes protrude, or the lids recede 
more than usual when a set-to is about 
to commence. 


Look Old 

Lump o' Stont 

It would be absolutely impossible for 
any adjustment of the boundary question 
to be made if the Russians and Afghans 
kept advancing until they could look into 
the whites of each other's eyes. D. N., 
14th March 1885. 

Look old (Street}. Severe. Very 
fine eulogy of the wisdom of age, as 
compared with the carelessness of 

Look slippery (Naval). Hurry up, 
be quick from the association of 
slipperiness and speed. 

Look through the fingers (Irish). 
To evade ; to pretend not to observe 
and see. 

Looking as if he hadn't got his 
right change (London). Appearing 
mad or wild. 

Looking round the clock 
(American). Getting appearance of 
age parallel between life and comple- 
tion of the orbit of the hands of a 

Looking seven ways for Sunday 
(Lower Middle London). Squinting. 

Looks like a widder woman 
(Amer., 1883). Appears old. 

Loose bit o' goods (Street, 1870 
on). Young woman who has abandoned 
the proprieties. (See Straight bit o' 

Loosing a fiver (Peoples'). Having 
to pay extravagantly for any pleasure 
or purchase. 

Loosing French (Street). Violent 
language in English. 

Lord Blarney (Irish, 1885). 
Aristocratic flatterer. First given to 
Lord Carnarvon, who after his appoint- 
ment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 
(1885) made many flattering speeches. 
Lord Carnarvon's plausible and sooth- 
ing, or to adopt the Irish expression 
'soothering', speeches appear only to 
have won for him the nickname of Lord 
Blarney. D. N., 14th November 1885. 

Lordy me (Prov. Hist.). Exclama- 
tion. Corruption of Lord have me ! 
One of the sacred ejaculations of early 
reform days. 

Lost a cartful and found a 
waggon - load (Peoples'). Getting 

Lot's wife's back-bone (Peoples'). 
To suggest extreme saltness, as * Salt 
as Lot's wife's back-bone '. 

Lottermy (Mid. Counties rarely 
Corruption of Lord take me ! 

Lotties and Totties (Theatrical). 
Ladies at large. 

If time and space permitted I should 
like to tell you all about the Lotties and 
the Totties and the other out-of-work pets 
who pervaded the stalls, and showed a 
liberal proportion of their backs backs 
and bosoms, too as bare as they were 
born. Ref., 15th November 1885. 

Lotus (L. Class, 1885.) Rhyme to 

Love curls (Society, 1880). This 
term came in when women began to 
cut their hair short and wear it low 
over the forehead. 

For the defence the respondent, Mr 
Robert Nathaniel Latham, was called. 
He gave a positive denial to the charge 
of cruelty. He had objected to his wife 
wearing what she called 'love curls'. 
Latham v. Latham, Probate and Divorce 
Division, 9th February 1883. 

Lovely as she can be and live, As 

(American, 1882). Superlative praise 
of beauty. That is to say she could 
only be more lovely when raised to the 
condition of an angel. 

Lovey dovey (Low London). 
Example of nonsense rhyming. 

Low comedy merchant (Theat., 
1883). Farcical actor. 

The success of Indiana mainly depends 
upon the extravagant humours of the 
chief low - comedy merchant. Ref., 
October 1886. 

He won't be able to box Mr Fred J. 
Stimson, the low comedy merchant, for 
some weeks to come. 

(See 'Shop'.) 

Lully (L. Class). Shirt. 

Lumberer (Soc. ). Lying adventurer 

Mr Gill felt instinctively that there 
was something wrong with this man's 
appearanee ; and when this man came, 
in cross-examination, to give an account 
of himself, it accorded with the well- 
known expression 'lumberer'. Lord 
Dunlo's Divorce, July 1890. 

Lump of ice (Rhyming}. Advice 
in common use. 

Lump of school (Rhyming). Fool. 

Lump o' jaw on (Street}. Talk- 

Lump o' stone (Thieves'). County 



Make a Stuffed Bird Laugh 

Lumpy-roar (Low London, 1855). 
A grandee, a swell of the first water. 
Said to be an anglicization of 
TEmpereur' Napoleon III., who 
became popular in 1885 by his visit 
to England, owing to the excitement 
produced by the Crimean War, and 
his encouragement of English trade. 


M. D. (Bridgeivater, 1857). Money 
down referring to electioneering 

McKinleyism McKinleyise 
(American- JEng., 1897). Protection. 
From President Mackinley, U.S.A., 
the great apostle of protection. 

Meanwhile Congress is hearing from 
the people in no uncertain tones as to 
certain schedules which Mr Dingley 
proposes to 'McKinleyise'. D. T., 23rd 
March 1897. 

Mating (Peoples', 19 cent.). Severe, 
but regulated thrashing by fists. 
Early in the '19th century Mace was 
for an exceptional time a leading 

Mackinaw (American Hunters'). 
A very strong and ingeniously-woven 
blanket, said to have been first made 
and sold by a Scotch wool - stapler 
called Maclnor. 

Mad as hops (American). 

Made in Germany (London, 1890 
on). Bad, valueless. Outcome of the 
vast quantity of inferior goods im- 
ported from Germany. Term increased 
in force from the date when this phrase 
had, legally, to be printed on the 

Maffickers, Early. 

Japanese merchants in New York 
met at dinner last night 'to celebrate 
the Japanese victory'. Star, 10th 
February 1904. 

Several days after the first naval 
success of the Japanese. 

Mafficking: (Street, 1900). Street 
rowdyism. April 1, 1900, added this 
word to the English language. It is 
quite as likely to stay as boycott. On 

the evening of that day the news of 
the relief of Mafeking arrived at about 
9 P.M. by eleven o'clock the streets 
were absolutely riotous. 

Magdalen Marm (Southward, 19 
cent.). A servant from. the Magdalen, 
a refuge for fallen women in the Black- 
friars Road, which existed there until 
about the middle of the century. The 
women who went out as servants from 
that place had been too often pampered 
there, and gave little satisfaction 
hence the Surrey side found this 
satirical term. 

Mailed fist (Peoples', 1897). Need- 
less threats, boasting. From a send- 
off dinner speech by the Emperor of 
Germany when sending forth his only 
brother, Henry, to conquer China with 
a fleet of two sail all of which ended 
in leasing a coaling-station by China 
to Germany. 

Mailing (Anglo - American). To 
post for the mail. 

After mailing, I returned to the 
Capitol, and rejoined Agneni on the 
balcony of the Senator's hall. D. N., 

Maintenon (Soc., Hist.). Mistress 
who affects piety. From the position 
and life of Madame de Maintenon, the 
last favourite of Louis XIV. 

Major MacFluffer or Fluffy 
(Theatrical, 19 cent.). Sudden lapse 
of memory, and use of words to call 
the attention of the inattentive 
prompter. It is said to have arisen 
from an actor, in this strait, yelling 
half a dozen times as he looked off on 
the prompt side * Major MacFluffer 
where the devil is Major MacFluffer.' 

More than one of the principals were 
foggy with the text, and were reduced 
to fluffing or to waiting for ' the word ' 
from the wings. Ref.. 13th November 

Major Methodist (Soc., '80's on). 
Extremely precise person. Intensifica- 
tion of Methodist. 

Make a fun (Irish). Exercise fuss. 

The villagers make a fun over every 
sister leaving, but we don't like it in any 
instance. Being externs, they might 
express their gratitude that way, but we 
wish to avoid it. It was done in the case 
of Sister Mary Clare. Miss Sauriris 
1 Nunnery' Case. 

Make a stuffed bird laugh 

(American). Absolutely preposterous. 


Make All Right 

Married the Widow 

Make all right (Election, 19 cent.). 
Promise to pay for vote. 

Make - it (London Poor). Corrup- 
tion of make-weight, the piece of bread 
added by bakers when weighing a loaf, 
to make up the weight few loaves 
being baked of the correct weight. 

Make it warm (London, 1880). 

Mr Firth remarked that he himself 
was engaged in the icy latitude of the 
north endeavouring, as some one had 
said, to make it warm for their good 
friends on the other side, and to help 
to carry the flag of progress once more 
to victory. D. N., 7th October 1885. 

Make leg (Com. Lond.). To 
become prosperous. 

Make up (Soc. and Peoples', 1860 
on). To make love to. 

Make up my leg (Costermongers'). 
To make money. From the time of 
smalls, stockings and buckled shoes, 
when making up the leg was a necessary 
prelude to going into society. (See 
Pull up my boot. ) 

Making your coffin (Tailors'). 
Charging too highly for an article. 
Said when a tailor charges a heavy 
price for a first job, and so probably 
loses a second. 

Male impersonator (Music Hall). 
A misnomer for the performer is a 
female who personates a man and 
sings like one. 

Mall (Metal Trades'). Credit. 

Man of Sedan (Political). Last 
nickname given for Napoleon III. 
from his fall at that city. 

Man-killer (Abstainers'). Porter, 
stout, cooper the black beers. 

Manchester school of nutrition 
(Soc., 1860). High-feeding, emphatic- 
ally introduced by certain medical men 
of that city. 

Mandamus (Legal). Verb invented 
from a writ of mandamus. 

The court was not dispensed from con- 
sidering this part of the case, as it would 
have been if Mr Bradlaugh had been 
trying to ' mandamus ' the Speaker or the 
Serjeant-at-Arms. D. N., 28th January 

Mange, letty, bevy and clobber. 
Italian through the organ-grinders' 
lodging-houses. Eating, bed, drink, 
clothes this last word being Hebrew. 

Manny (Jewish E. London). Term 
of endearment or admiration prefixed 
to Jewish name, as ' Manny Lyons '. 
Apparently a muscular Hebrewism. 

Mantalini (Mid. Class, 1840 on). 
A man-milliner from the milliner's 
husband inDickens's Nicholas Nickleby. 

A famous Mantalini, one who will very 
shortly open a palatial branch establish- 
ment in London town, has draped and 
adorned the feminine form divine of 
handsome Jane Hading. D. T., 2nd 
January 1897. 

From about 1860-90 this name was 
superseded by that of * Worth ', th^ 
English man-milliner of the second 
empire, and afterwards of the third 

Marcus Superbus (Theat., 1896). 
Grandee. This was the name given to 
himself by Mr Wilson Barrett in his 
play, The Sign of the Cross (1896). 
Soon after the success of this morality, 
a variety piece called The Gay Parisienne 
was produced ; therein Miss Louie 
Freear made an immediate success as 
a burlesque actress, who invented a 
grotesque name Marcus Superfluous. 

Margery (L. London, 19 cent.). 

Mark time (Mil., 19 cent.). Wait, 
hold on, be patient, don't be in a 
hurry. From the military order when 
soldiers are halted for a short time on 
march, or drill, and which is done 
that step may not be lost. 

Marking M. (Irish Peoples'). 
Kapidity. The M. is the initial of 
the Virgin Mary, still a very sacred 
symbol in Ireland. Usually used in 
describing rapidity of action. 

Marksman (Old). Legal term for 
a man who cannot write, and who 
makes his mark. 

Marm - poosey or Marm - puss 
(Public-house, 1863). Applied to a 
showily-dressed landlady. 

Marmalade country (Scotland). 
Music hall reference to the orange 
marmalade made in Dundee and other 
Scotch places. 

Marriage face (Middle Class). Sad 
one because generally a bride cries 
a good deal, and so temporarily spoils 
her looks. 

Married the widow (French 
known in England, 19 cent. ). Made a 
mess of things. Derived from a man 


Married to Brown Bess 

May God Blind Me 

going to the guillotine, which makes 
widows, while the idea of marriage is 
suggested by the momentary associa- 
tion with the guillotine, which is 
called in French slang ' the widow '. 

Married to Brown Bess (Mil., 18- 
19 cent. ). To serve as a soldier. Brown 
Bess was of course the musket. 

You can tell her that you are safe and 
married to Brown Bess (that is to say en- 
listed). Thackeray, Barry Linden, ch. v. 
Martialist (Soe., 1885). Soldier 
holding a commission. 

The marvel was ' that the colonel stood 
it '. He was, indeed, a long-suffering 
martialist. D. N., 31st December 1885. 
Marwooded (Peoples'). Hanged. 
This term prevailedjwhile Executioner 
Marwood held office. He died in 

Mary Ann (L. London, 19 cent.). 
An effeminate man. 

Mash, Made a (Soc., 1883). 
Effected a conquest struck somebody 
all of a heap. 

Mash that (Com. Land.). Hold 
your tongue. Probably from macher 
to chew, or figuratively keep to your- 
self in your mouth. 

Mashers' corners (Soc., 1882). The 
O.P. and P.S. entrances to the stalls 
of the old Gaiety Theatre. 

Masonics (Soc., Hist.). Secrets 
from the secret rites of Freemasonry. 
Not that there are either secrets or 
rites in Freemasonry at all events in 
England where combined secrets are 
neither wanted nor expected. 

Massites (Soc., 1897). Members of 
the Anglican Church who believe in 
transubstantiation. These believers 
accept the term gravely ; but it was 
invented by the representative, or 
Low Church, party. 

Masterpiece o' night work (Street). 
Admiringly said of a handsome un- 

Match (Soc., 19 cent.). Society 
classic for marriage throughout the 
reign giving rise to the compound 
matchmaker, a woman who brings 
about marriages. 

Mrs Gerard did her best to make the 
match, and although she afterwards con- 
ceived doubts as to whether her sister 
really loved him, she said nothing to 
Lord Durham to that effect. Lord 
Herschel, Lord Durham's Nullity Suit, 
March 1885. 


Materials (Irish). Evasive term 
for whisky-punch. 

Matinee (Theatrical, 1870). Morn- 
ing theatrical performance. This 
entertainment came from New York, 
and was speedily adopted not only in 
England, but in France, which accepted 
the word. 

Matin6e dog (Theatrical). Sufferer 
experimented upon. From vivisection 
of canines, or testing food for poison 
by submitting it to tykes. Of course 
a figure of speech in relation to the 
frequent dramatic rubbish which is 
submitted at matinees, as distinct 
from evening performances. 

Arrangements have been made by 
Irvine Bacon and Charles Groves to try 
it ere long on the matinee dog probably 
at the Haymarket. Re/., 3rd February 

Matineers (Soc., 1885). Frequenters 
of matinees. Outcome of the rage 
for matinees, 1884-85. They are com- 
posed of quite 80 per cent, of ladies. 

Matineers on the look out for a really 
excellent and varied show will thank me 
for calling their attention to a matine 
to be given in compliment to Mrs Robert 

Maty (London Workmen's). Mate. 
Maungo (N. Country, 1869). 
Shoddy. This word is said to come 
from the term ' it maun go 'that is 
to say it must sell from its cheapness. 

Maw-sang (Northumbrian). Blood 
a corrupted oath probably mort 
saint, holy death. 

Mawther (E. Anglican). Not only 
mother, but applied to even a girl 
baby, girl, maid, wife, and childless 

Mawwormy (Peoples'). Fault-find- 
ing, dismally anticipating wretched- 
ness. From the character Mawworm. 

Augustus Harris insisting on Carl Rosa 
accepting the wreath thrown on the stage 
last Saturday night was a delicious and 
touching spectacle. Here is a glorious 
subject for one of our figure-painters. 
Without being mawwormy, I fail to see 
why a wreath should be presented to 
any man who makes a business of giving 
opera. Entr'acte, 6th June 1885. 

(See Pecksniffian.) 

May God blind me (Street). The 
original invocation of the gutterling, 
reduced to ' Gaw blin' me '. ' bly me ', 
'blyme', 'bly'. 



Mayhap (Peoples}. Abbreviation of 
may happen. 

'Your widow? Mayhap not.' Gar- 
rick, Abel Drugger. 

Mean to do without 'em (Music 
Hall, 1882). The "em' infers to 
women. The phrase was first made 
popular by the singer Arthur Roberts. 

Mean white (Anglo-Indian). A 
poor Englishman. 

Meater (Street). Coward. Said of 
a dog who only bites meat, that is to 
say, one who will not fight. Thence 
applied to cowardly men. 

Meddle and muddle (Political, 
1879). Came in during contest 
between Beaconsfield and Gladstone 
unmasterly policy which harries and 
does nothing. 

The Board is pursuing a policy of 
meddle and muddle, and is getting itself 
most cordially hated all round, Ref., 
26th April 1885. 

Meddling duchess (Peoples 1 , 1880). 
Intensification of duchess (q. v. ). Ageing, 
pompous woman who fusses about and 
achieves nothing. 

Melt (Financial). To discount a 

Melton hot day (Sporting and 
Club, 1885). Equivalent to melting 
hot day. Created Derby Day (3rd 
June), which was very sultry, and 
apropos to the winner of the day 
* Melton '. 

Several who came near me after the 
big race remarked that it was a Melton 
hot day, and seemed to think they were 
saying something original and something 
funny. Ref., 7th June 1885. 

Memugger (Oxford). Martyrs' 
memorial. A satirical and even pro- 
fane application of ' er'. 

The triumph of this jargon was reached 
when some one christened the Martyrs' 
Memorial the ' Martyrs' Memugger '. 
D. T., 14th August 1899. 

Mended (Street, 19 cent.}. Bandaged. 

Menkind (Soc., J 90's). Male 
relatives simply. 

The great pull which Pekin had, over 
other Eastern or over South American 
Legations was that it is the traditional 
custom that the ladies of the Corps 
Diplomatique, who can rarely be pre- 
vailed upon to venture so far from Paris 
as Chili and Peru, accompany their 
menkind forth to the Celestial City. 
D. T., 4th July 1900. 

Mentisental (Syllable traversion 
E. of London only). Sentimental. 

Merchant (Theatrical, 1882). The 
theatre coming to be called the ' shop ', 
actors dubbed themselves ' merchants ', 
qualified by their line. 

Merely moral man (Soc., 1890). 
Started by Ritualistic incumbents. 
Attack upon men who are moral with- 
out expressed Christian belief. 

Mervousness (Polit., 1885). 
Satirical synonym for nervousness 
invented about 1876 by the political 
party who did not believe in the 
advance of Russia towards India. 

Messengers (Country). The small 
dark, rapidly-drifting cloudlets which 
foretell a storm. 

Micky. See Bob, Harry and Dick. 

Microbe of sectionalism (Soc., and 
Parl, circa 1896). Social fad in the 
House of Commons. As gradually 
the * microbe ' was discovered to be 
the cause of all disease, or the effect 
of all tendency to disease, the phrase 
was used figuratively. In this case it 
is applied to the total break up of the 
Liberal party in the '90's, by the 
divided feeling upon most extreme 
points. Such as total abstinence, 
local veto, vaccination, voluntary 
schools, etc. 

The abdication by the Radical party 
of its proper functions has an unfortunate 
tendency to foster what we have called 
the microbe of sectionalism. D. T., 
21st June 1890. 

Mid vire (Sporting, Paris). Midday 
wires, giving last prices in the coming- 
on races. Heard in London. 

Middle cuts (Slums'). These are 
the prime cuts of fried fish at fried 
fish shops. 

Midge (Devon, old). A tell-tale. 

Mighty roarer (Yankee). Niagara 

Mikey (Corrupt Rhyming). Sick 
after drink. (See Bob, Harry and 

Milikers (Com. London, 1870). 
Militia probably a corruption of the 
true word, upon the basis that public- 
house is idiotically called shuvly- 

Military (Tavern, 1885). Porter. 
One of the later baptisms. 



Monday Mice 

Milk-bottle (Com. Peoples'). Baby. 

M ilken ( Thieves' , 1 8 cent. ) . House - 
breaker. (See Fielding's Jonathan 

Million to a bit of dirt (Sporting, 
1860). A sure bet requiring no caution. 
'It's a million to a bit o' dirt the 
Plunger pulls it off.' (See Dollars to 
buttons ) 

Mimodrama (Theatrical, 1897). 
Drama of dumb show, as distinct from 
melodrama, wherein the more noise the 

He had found the argument of this 
minodrama in an artic e of criticism 
written by Theophile KJautier. D. T., 
3rd March 1897. 

Minchin Malacho (Peoples', 18 cent. 
on). Whatever this may mean it is 
evidently still understood by the 
vulgar. In April 1895 the present 
writer heard a man in the gallery of 
the Palace of Varieties (London), after 
several scornful phrases, say derisively, 
* Oh ah minchin maleego.' 

Mind the grease (Peoples'). Let 
me pass, please. 

Mind the paint (Peoples'). Said of 
passing girls who have painted their 
faces. Adopted from the ordinary 
phrase used by house -painters who 
flourish this legend on floor, pavement, 
and wall. (See Aristocratic veins.) 

Mind the step (Peoples'). Veiled 
or satiric suggestion that the victim 
addressed is drunk. 

Mine (Low Life). Husband of a 
kind. Sometimes really applied to a 

Mine-jobber (City, 1880 on). Cheat. 
When English copper mining became 
comparatively valueless by reason of 
the import of Australian and other ore 
as ballast, all the rascals on change 
floated mine companies, which had 
not a chance of success. 

Minnie P. play (Stage, 1885 on). 
Drama in which a little maid variety 
actress is the chief motive. She must 
sing, dance, play tricks, and never 
wear a long dress. From Miss Minnie 
Palmer's creations, chiefly in My 
Sweetheart. Now obsolete. 

Misery (Old Eng. and American). 

Misery bowl (Tourists'). Relief- 
basin at sea. 


Misery junction (Music Hall 
Singers'). The angle forming the south- 
west corner of the York and Waterloo 
Roads. So named from the daily 
meeting here of music hall ' pros ' who 
are out of engagements, and who are in 
this neighbourhood for the purpose of 
calling on their agents, half a dozen of 
whom live within hail. (See Pro's 
Avenue. ) 

Misleading paper (1876 on). Name 
given to Times newspaper when it 
began to lose its distinctive feature as 
the ' leading paper ' in Liberal policy. 

Probably the critic of the leading I 
should say the misleading morning 
paper did not see the show. 

Miss (American). To be unlucky. 

Mistaken (Birmingham, 1885). 
Lie. From a satirical paragraph by 
Mr Chamberlain (9th November), at 

Mitching (Canadian). Common 
term for playing the truant. Comes 
from Devonshire, where the term is 
still in use. 

Mitten (Amer. t Hist.). Refusal of 
marriage by a lady. ' She gave him the 

Mixologist (American Saloon). 
Outcome of the complicated nature of 
American drinks a learned mixer. 

Mo'. (See 'Art a mo'.) 

Mock litany men (Irish mendi- 
cants'). Sing-song beggars who utter 
plaints or requests in a chanting 

Modernity (Soc. t '90's). Obvious. 
This word was invented early in the 
'90's first as a satire, then as a 
perspicacious descriptive. 

Nothing seems to be wanting to the 
perfect 'modernity' of the process by 
which Clerkenwell is endeavouring to 
discover its most fitting 'shepherd of 
souls ' save the presence of a few book- 
makers and a daily report of the state 
of the odds against the various competing 
candidates. D. T., 16th June 1898. 

Moll-hunters (Street). Men, of all 
ages, who are always lurking after 

Monaker (Cow,. Lond., 1870). Title 
or name. From Italian lingo for name, 
Monaco being the Italian for monk. 

Monday mice (L. Sir. , Hist. ). The 
processions of black eyes, in both sexes, 
and in back streets as the result of 
the week-end closing at 11 P.M. on 

Monday Pops 

Mother of the Modern Drama 

Sunday nights a black eye getting 
this name from its ordinary size and 
rounded shape suggesting a huddled 
up mouse. 

Monday pops (Soc. ). Abbreviation 
of popular and put in plural. Refers 
to celebrated long-established concerts 
at St James's Hall, London. 

We have been to a Monday pop this 
week. Geo. Eliot, Letters, 26th 
November, 1862. 

Money bag lord (Soc., 19 cent.). 
Ennobled banker. (See Paint brush 
baronet and Gaily pot baronet. ) 

Money bugs (Amer. Eng.). 
Millionaires. Beetles are called bugs, 
or were, in the U.S.A. The golden 
bug is a beetle that has the appear- 
ance of a lump of dead gold. 

It is estimated, I see, that the Vander- 
bilt family of millionaires control among 
them 20,000 miles of American railways, 
which in one way and another afford 
employment for three millions of human 
beings. . . . The happiness or the 
misery of three millions of people wholly 
dependent on the whims and caprices 
of, say, half a dozen 'money bugs'. 
People, 20th March 1898. 

Monkey (Mechanics'). Clerk. 

Monkey and parrot time 

(American). Equivalent to cat and 
dog life. 

Monkey motions (Military}. Ex- 
tension drill. Used satirically by the 
men in reference to the manoeuvres of 
this really droll drill. 

Monkey on the house (Soc.). 
Expression current in Cambridgeshire. 
It means that the owner of the house 
has raised money on it. The natives 
also say, ' A monkey on the land ', the 
word 'monkey' being exactly equi- 
valent to 'mortgage'. 

Monkey, To (American - Eng.). 
Prance and carry on effusively 
especially towards a pretty girl. 

Monks. Sickly parrots. They hold 
their heads down and in. 

Monos ( Westminster School). 
King's scholar who at 4 P.M. 
announces, in Latin, the finish of 
the day's work. 

Moo (L. Class). Common woman. 

Moocheries (Peoples', 1885). One 
of the names given to The Inventions. 
(See Muckeries. ) 

Moony cove (Peoples'). The word 
is derived from trie tendency of persons 
suffering from incipient insanity to 
keep the eyes raised when walking. 
Moon-struck is another form of the 

Moorgate - rattler (Clare Market, 
1899). Startlingly - dressed passer- 
by a swell of that district, or in 
it. Perhaps a corruption of Moorgate, 
or possibly Margate. 

Mops and brooms (Peoples'). 
Drunk probably suggested by the 
hair getting disordered and like a 
mop. From a time when hair was 
worn long. 

' Mops and brooms ' doubtless express 
a sense of confusion. Daily News. 

Moral Cremorne (Soc., 1883). 
Fisheries Exhibition, Royal Horti- 
cultural Gardens, 1883. So named 
because there had been no illumina- 
tion fetes since the closing of immoral 
Cremorne Gardens. 

The Fisheries Exhibition is over. The 
lights of the moral Cremorne are out. 
Ref., 3rd November 1883. 

More blue (Devon, old). Exclama- 
tion. Absolute pronunciation of ' mort 
bleue', and coming down probably 
from the Frenchified court of Charles 
II., when Exeter was a western 
metropolis. (See Big beck, Zounds, 
Zooks, Odd's fish, Please the pigs, 
Maw sang.) 

More war (Street, 1898). Street 
quarrel or wrangle, especially amongst 
women. Outcome of the somewhat 
discussive warfare carried on between 
U.S.A. and Spain in this year. 
Satirical to some degree. 

Mother (Complicated Rhyming, 
1868). Water. Abbreviation of 
* mother and daughter' rhyming 
with 'water'. 

Mother of the modern drama 
(Theatrical). An actress who took up 
high matronly ground in a lecture 
delivered (1884) at Birmingham. The 
lady, successful early in life, and 
married to a rich, prosperous and 
devoted husband, spoke veryea? cathedra, 
and during her oration pitied the 
strugglers, and announced her inten- 
tion of quitting the stage when ' 40 '. 
Calculating people arrived at the con- 
clusion that the lady never therefore 
intended to leave the stage, as no one 
can be ' 40 ' twice. 
177 M 

Mother's Help 

Muffin- Wallopers 

Mother's help (Mid. Class, 1883 
on). Nursery governess. Term in- 
vented for the accommodation of 
people who want a governess, and do 
not want to pay for one. 

Motor (London Soc., 1896). Fast, 
hard-living ; said of a man about town. 

Motor (Oxford, 1897). Coach, cram 
tutor for exams. Origin obvious. 
Simply the conversion of the old-time 
coach into the new-time motor with- 
out the car. 

Motor (Soc., 1896). The motor-car, 
immediately shortened to motor, was 
first shown in London streets on 10th 
November 1896. Before the end of 
the year a score of phrases were built 
up around it. 

Byron had shown the true origin of the 
Motor long before the gentlemen who 
thought they invented it were born. 
Did he not say in his famous riddle : 
'Twas whispered in Heaven, 'twas 
Motor'd in Hell. D. T., 19th 

November 1896. 

Motter (Street, 1896). Name given 
to the motor carriage on its very first 
official appearance in London on Lord 
Mayor's Day, 1896. 

Mount the cart (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
Be hanged from the then habit of 
carting culprits from Newgate to 
Tyburn tree, or gallows the cart 
being drawn from under the wretch 
when the rope had been attached to 
the beam. 

Mourning coach horse (Middle 
Class London, 1850). A tall, solemn 
woman, dressed in black and many 
inky feathers. (See Sala's B. ) 

Mouth-pie (Street). Emphatic name 
for feminine scolding. 

Move the previous question (Soc., 
from Parliamentary Life). To evade ; 
to object to explain. 

To ' move the previous question ' is in 
Parliamentary phraseology simply to say 
that the present is not the most con- 
venient moment for discussing any 
particular motion. Another time, it 
says another time, by all means ; but 
not just now. 

Move the procession (American 
Mining). To incite a crowd against 
some unpopular person. 

Mowrowsky (Anglo American). 
Interchange of initial consonants of 
two adjacent words, by accident or 

intention, as bin and gitters for * gin 
and bitters'. Very common, 1840-56. 
Brought into fashion by Albert Smith 
from hospital life. Now chiefly 
patronised in America. 

A mowrowsky is often a transfer of 
two words, as in the Taming of the 
Shrew, where Grumio cries, in pre- 
tended fright, 'The oats have eaten 
the horses'. During the Donnelly 
discussion (1888) wherein it was con- 
tended that the plays of Shakespeare 
had been written by Lord Bacon, an 
intended satirical mowrowsky was 
invented by an interchange of initials 
between the two names, Bakespeare 
and Shacon. 

Muck (Military). Scornful appella- 
tion bestowed upon all infantry by all 

Muck and halfpenny afters (Middle 
Class). Bad, pretentious dinner 
spotted at the corners with custard 
powder preparations, and half-dozens 
of stewed prunes, etc., etc. 

Muckeries (Youths, 1885). Name 
given to the ' Inventories' (Inventions 
Exhibition at S. Kensington) as the 
season went on, by the youthful 

Mucking ( Westminster School). 
Idling, hanging round. 

Mud island (E. London). South- 
end watering-place on the mouth of 
the Thames, whose estuary still pro- 
duces a deal of mud. 

Mud show (Soc.). An agricultural, 
or other out-door show. 

Mud - hovel argument (Political, 
1879-84). Term given to Tory argu- 
ment against extension of political 
liberty in Ireland. 

A great part of his speech, however, 
consisted only of what we may call the 
' mud - hovel ' argument, an argument 
which he applied to Ireland, and on 
which it will be remembered he had 
recently an opportunity of expatiating 
in Ireland. D. N., 4th March 1884. 

Mud-pusher (Street, 1870). Cross- 
ing sweeper. 

Muff (Soc., 1840 on). A stupid, 
dilatory, inactive, and generally 
amiable young man. 

Muffin - puncher (Street). Muffin - 

Muffin - wallopers (Middle Class 
London, 1880). Scandal -loving women, 



My Elm is Grown 

chiefly spinsters, who meet over a cup 
of tea. 

Mug (Theatrical). To show variety 
of comic expression in the features. 

Multa bona fakement (Tavern, 
1800-35). Very good trick from 
the Italian molto bono, and abstract 
noun made from fake to manipulate 
adroitly if dishonestly, 

A hand truck was procured, and 
drugged Charley (watchman) and his 
box were then transferred to another 
locality, so that when Charley awoke he 
found himself and box ready for doing 
duty in another parish. This trick was 
estimated to be a multa bona fakement. 
Diprose's Clement Danes; Pierce Egan, 
Life in London, vol. i., p. 101. 

Mumchance (Peop., Hist.). Dole- 
fully silent. 

The man or woman who can sit 
'mumchance', and with faces as long 
as a yard measure, over a well-acted 
farce do not deserve to be ranked in the 
noble army of all-embracing playgoers. 
Z>. T., llth March 1897. 

Mumming booth (Lower Stage). A 
wandering marquee in which short 
plays are produced. 

Munching house (City, 1850). 
Onomatope for Mansion House from 
the lusty-feeding going on there. 

The distinguished artists who repeated 
The Masque of Painters at the Munching 
House the other day do not seem to 
have been quite satisfied with their 
treatment. Ref., 5th July 1885. 

Mundane (Franco-Eng. y 1890 on). 
Person of fashion. 

The Comtesse de Maupeou, a mundane 
who has recently risen upon the musical 
horizon, rendered several songs. D. JV., 
12th April 1897. 

Murder an' Irish (Peoples', 19 cent.). 
Exclamation intimating that things 
are at a climax. Sometimes more 
emphatically used as ' murderin' Irish '. 

Museum headache (Authors', 1857). 

Many a student avers, whether 
candidly or not, that it costs him less 
to buy rare books than to hang about 
the Museum, waiting the leisure of the 
attendants, and struggling against a 
'Museum headache'. Z>. JV., llth 
December 1882. 

Mush, gush, and lush (Amer.- 
Eng., 1884). Mean interested criticism 
critiques paid for either in money or 

Mushroom (Public - house). Name 
given by frequenters (presumably in 
contempt), to the great clock to be 
seen in most taverns, and which gives 
warning as to closing time. 

Music Hall howl (Musicians'). The 
peculiar mode of singing in music-halls, 
the result of endeavouring rather to 
make the words of a song heard than 
to create musical effect. 

Music Hall public (Soc. t 1884). 
Satirical description of public who do 
not care for high-class compositions. 

Next time M. Kiviere organises a 
benefit let him make up his mind whether 
he will seek the suffrages of the musical 
or the music hall public. He might be 
happy with either, but he will never get 
both at once. fief., 3rd May 1885. 

Musk-rats (American). People of 
Delaware given because those animals 
prevail in this division. 

Must know Mrs Kelley? You 

(London, 1898 on). Joking exclama- 
tion with no particular meaning, 
generally shot at a long - winded 
talker. Phrase used for two years at 
all times and places by Dan Leno. 

Mustard plaster (Peoples'). Dismal 
young man. Put a mustard plaster on 
his chest. Said of a doleful and dismal 
pallid young man. Derived from a 
comic song, in association with 
Colman's mustard, written by the 
celebrated pantomime writer, E. L. 
Blanchard, and sung in one of his 
pantomimes at Drury Lane. 

Mustard pot (Peoples'). Carriage 
with a light yellow body. Obvious 
outcome of mere relation of colours. 

Mutton shunter (Policemen, 1883). 

My elm is grown (Peoples', 18 cent.). 
Prognostication of one's own death 
figure of speech depending upon the 
practical fact that elm is used through- 
out the land for coffins. 



Natural, All Your 


N.A.D. (Military Hospital). 
Shamming in any way. Initials of No 
Appreciable Disease. 

N. D. (Soc., 19 cent.). Initials of 
No Date, used by librarians in making 
their lists. Applied to a woman who 
tries to look young. 

N. F. (Artisans', masked). Initials 
of No Fool. 

N. G. (Peoples', 19 cent.). Em- 
phatic initials of No Go which in its 
turn implies failure. 

N. N. (Soc.). Necessary Nuisance 
generally applied to husband. 

N. Y. D. (Military Hospital). 
Evasive for drunk. Initials of Not 
Yet Diagnosed found on military 
hospital bed-cards as a direction to 
visiting medical men and to nurses. 
In this case the true diagnosis would 
lead to a confinement to barracks. 

Nail a goss ( Thieves'). To steal a 
hat industry gone out since hats 
became so cheap. The silk plush hat 
which succeeded and killed the beaver 
was so comparatively light that it was 
called a gossamer, soon naturally re- 
duced to goss. 

Nail a strike (Thieves'). To steal a 

Nailed up drama (Theat., 1881). 
Satirical title found for the drama 
which depends upon elaborate scenery. 
Said first in relation to The World, 
produced at Drury Lane about this 

Nana, Nanaish (Club, 1882). Out- 
rageous, overstepping decency from 
the French romance Nana, by Zola. 

Theodora would be an unpresentable 
being to a London or a New York audi- 
ence, and is almost too ' high ' in the 
sense poulterers attach to the word for 
even a Boulevardier public. In the 
name of history, Zola's Nana is out- 
Nana-ed. D. N. (criticism on Theodora), 
29th December 1884. 

Nancy (Low London, 19 cent.). 
Effeminate in a slight degree. Also 
used in the U.S.A. 

Nancy tales (Lit. , 1890). Humbug, 

The negroes of the West Indies call an 
old wife's fable ' a Nancy story ', derived 
from Ananzi, the African spider who 
told tales. D. N., 17th January 1891. 

Nanny (Street boys'). Banana. (See 
Tommy Rabbit, ) 

Nanty (Italian organ-grinders'). 
Nothing corruption of niente. 

' 'E's a nanty cove.' 

Nanty narking (Tavern, 1800 on 
to 1840). Great fun. (See Egan's 
Life in London.) 

Nanty worster (Common London). 
Nanty (Italian) here means ' no ' ; 
worster an intensification of 'worst'. 
The phrase means therefore a 'no- 
worse '. 

Nark the titter (Dangerous Classes). 
Watch the woman. ' Nark ' is prob- 
ably a rhyming word to ' mark '. 
Titter is the very lowest mode of 
describing a woman one who has 

Nap (London, 1855-70). A very 
pointed moustache the two points 
forming a long line which 'cut' the 
face. It was re-introduced by Napo- 
leon III., and is still worn by Napo- 
leonists in Paris. 

Nap or nothing (Club, 1868). All 
or naught. 

Nap (knap) the regulars (Thieves'). 
Receive or grab the customary portion 
of the money resulting from the sale of 
stolen property. 

Narrative (Middle class). Dog's 
tail. A tale is a narrative tale = 
tail in pronunciation. 

Nathaniel, Below (Old English). 
Even lower than Hades Nathaniel 
(like Samuel, or Zamiel in Germany) 
and Old Nick, or Nicholas, being 
familiar synonyms for Satan. 

Throughout my life I have always had 
a burning desire and a dogged deter- 
mination to get below the surface of 
things, and Eugene Sue's masterpiece 
took you, as the saying is, ' down below 
Nathaniel', as regards the basements 
and the subterraneans of society. G. A. 
Sala, D. T., 18th July 1895. 

Nattermy (Peoples'). Word for a 
thin human being. From anatomy. 

Natural, All your (Peoples'). Ellip- 
sis of all your natural born days. 
Natural probably here meant as ' or- 
dinary', which phrase would exclude 
your 'extraordinary' days. 


Nautical Triumvisetta 

Nice Place to Live Out Of 

Nautical triumvisetta (Music Hall). 
A singing and dancing nautical scene 
by three persons, of whom two are 
generally women. 

Near and far (Public-house Rhym- 
ing). The bar. 

Neat (Low Peoples'). Unadulterated, 
unmixed in relation to drink : e.g., 

Two o' gin neat is quite an improve- 
ment upon a similar quantity of ' raw'. 

Nec Ultra (Soc., 17-19 cent.). West 
side of Temple Bar. 

To the Countess Blushrose, Nature 
herself had written Nec Ultra on the west 
side of Temple Bar. D. Jerrold's The 
Story of a Feather, chap. ix. 

Neck oil (E. London). Beer 

Ned Skinner (Rhyming). Dinner. 

Neddyvaul (Street boys'). ' Ned of 
all'. Chief, commander, conqueror. 

Neecee peeress (Soc.). An E. C. 
or city bride of little or no family, and 
an immense fortune, both of which are 
wedded to some poor lord or baronet. 

Needful (Peoples', 19 cent.). Money 
and one of the most urgent terms for 
it. In use by all classes. 

Needle (Tailors'). Got the needle, 
i.e., irritated, as when the needle runs 
into a finger. Has spread generally 
over working classes, who have accepted 
the graphic nature of the phrase. 

Needles and pins (Peoples'). Warn- 
ing against marriage. The rhyming 

Pins and needles needles and pins 

When a man marries his trouble begins. 

Common also to America, to which 
land it passed from Devonshire, where 
the phrase is still very common. 

Neetrith gen (Backspeech). Thirteen 
shillings. The first word is thirteen 
spelt back wards the 'th' very properly 
being taken as one letter. 'Gen' is 
the short for general (a shilling). 

Negus (Queen Ann's reign). Port 
wine and hot water, heightened by 
grated nutmeg. One of the name 
words from a Colonel Negus who in- 
vented the beverage. 

Never fear (Peoples'). Don't be 

Never squedge (Low. London). A 
poor pulseless, passionless youth a 


Neversweat (Common English, 19 
cent.). A graphic, one-word descrip- 
tion of a lazy, or even a slow individual, 
used only towards men and boys. 

New (Britannia training ship). 
Fresh arrival, last addition. Used in 
the plural. 

New (American). News. 'Oh, is 
that the new ? ' 

New cut warrior (S. London, 1830). 
An inhabitant fighter, in or near the 
New Cut, a road made only in the 
19th century through the Lambeth 
Marshes from Blackfriars to Lambeth. 

New departure (Soc., 1880). 
Synonym for change of any kind. 

We have often pointed out that the 
electoral changes which have just been 
accomplished must produce a new era 
or, as the Americans would call it, a new 
departure in legislation. D. N., 9th 
August 1885. 

New pair of boots (Mid.-class). 
Another question altogether later 
shape of another pair of shoes. 

Once they have the concession made 
to them, then it becomes a ' new pair of 
boots ' altogether. Entr'acte, 17th March 

Newcastle programme (1894 on). 
Extreme promises, difficult of execu- 
tion. From afepeech of extreme Radical 
promise made by Mr John Morley at 

Next parish to America (Irish). 
Arran Island most western land of 

Just sixteen miles beyond Barna, and 
at the mouth of the Bay of Gal way, is 
Arran island, which the people here call 
the ' Next Parish to America '.D. N. t 
December 1887. 

Next thing to the judgment day 

(wholly American). Absolute social 

Nice as nasty (Lower Peoples'). 
Evasive way of declaring the opponent 

Nice blackberry (American). 
Satirical phrase, intimating that the 
other is a bitter weed or fruit. 

Nice joint (Street). Charming, if 
over-pronounced, young person. 

Nice place to live out of (Peoples'). 
Evasive way of condemning a locality. 

Without corresponding to the idea of 
' a nice place to live out of ', Harrogate 

Nice Thin Job 

No Rats 

is assuredly one of those spots which owe 
much to their surroundings. 
(See Do without it. ) 
Nice thin job (Peoples', 1895). 
Mean evasion of a promise. ' Thin ' 
to be seen through, comes from 
America and in England antitheti- 
cally suggested thick now very pre- 
valent for ill-usage and misbehaviour 
in general. 

Nicholls (Soc. t 1860 on). Complete 
riding habit. From the splendid 
habits made by Nicholls, of Regent 

Nickel - plate (American). An 
equivalent to our German silver a 
swindle, a social fraud. 

The name ' nickel plate ', as applied to 
the New York, Chicago & St Louis Rail- 
way, came into use in this way : speak- 
ing of the road by its initial letters a 
common practice among railroad men 
N. Y. C. L. suggested nickel, and from 
that to ' nickel plate ' was an easy transi- 
tion. Detroit Free Press, 1882. 

Niggers' duel (Anglo-American). 
A never-intended encounter. Each 
behind a mile-stone, therefore a mile 

Night flea (Essex School). Boarder 
in contradistinction from Day-bug 

Niminy-piminy (Soc., 19 cent.). 
Effeminately affected. 

Mr Beckford wrote in Leigh Hunt's 
Story of Rimini : 

Nimmini Pimmini 
The Story of Rimmini. 
D. N., llth December 1882. 
Nimshes (American Federal, 1860- 
65). One of the contemptuous names 
describing the Secessionists. Origin 
not known. 

Nine mile nuts (Japanese pigeon). 
Anything to eat or drink very sustain- 
ing. From the nutritive qualities of 
chestnuts especially in Japan. 

Nine tailors make a man (OldEng. ). 
Said derisively of a small man, whether 
tailor or not. 

Nines, Up to the (Common). 

90 dog (Street). Pug. Referring to 
aspect of tail. 

97 champion frost (Peoples'). First 
motor cars. The expectations raised 
on 10th November, 1896, by the 
procession of motor cars from the 

Embankment to Brighton, were dis- 
appointed by the immediate results. 

No. I. (New York, 1883). When 
the U.S.A. were interested, early in 
this year, as to whether the 'No I. ' 
of the Invincible Brotherhood (Fenian) 
was or was not in America, the term 
No. I. was often applied to noisy, or 
even merely evident, Irishmen. 

No. I. (Political, 1883). Mysterious. 
This phrase took its rise early this 
year, consequent upon the collapse of 
' The Brotherhood of Invincibles'. 

No better than they ought to be 

(Peoples'). Worse than many. 

There are fireworks on certain nights 
now at the Crystal Palace, and they are 
about the most successful of the displays 
given here ; though it may be said they 
attract very many persons whom Mrs 
Grundy says are no better than they 
ought to be. Entr'acte, 6th June 1885. 

No beyond jammer (Street). 
Perfectly beautiful woman. 

No church (Peoples'}. When thegreat 
wrangle took place between the High 
Church party and the Low Church 
party, this phrase, which at once took, 
and has remained popular, was deftly 
discovered by Douglas Jerrold to 
represent the religious condition of 
the utterly outcast. The phrase was 
first published by the wit in a page 
of Punch. 

No class (Street, 1893 on). 
He proposed to Sal and she knew he was 

gone on her a bit 
Although I knew quite well it couldn't 

But when she said, 'I love him, Bill,' it 

fairly knocked me sick, 
Cos I seemed to know 'e wasn't any 


' Soldiers ! Why, soldiers ain't no 
class.' D. T., June 1897. 

No earthly (London, 1899). Ab- 
breviation of ' no earthly chance '. 

The actors who have not booked their 
seats vid Mr Henry Dana, are hereby 
notified that they have now no earthly, 
as all seats have been allotted. Ref., 
22nd October 1899. 

No grease (Engineers'). Absence 
of behaviour, of politeness. 

No rats (Peoples'). Scotchman. 
Evasive reference to that native, it 
being supposed that a Scot is always 
associated with bagpipes, and that no 


No Return Ticket 

Not In It 

rat can bear the neighbourhood of that 
musical instrument. 

No return ticket (Common, London). 
Abbreviation of ' He's going to Han well 
and no return ticket' said of a man 
who shows signs of madness. 

Nobby (Navy). Anelicization of 
the 'Niobe'. 

Nolled (American). Form of nolle 
prosequi. Used by lawyers. 

Non compos. See Compos, Non. 

Non me (Peoples', 1820-30). Lie. 
* That's a non me for one.' Took its 
rise from the trial of Queen Caroline, 
wherein the Italian witnesses observed 
' non mi ricordo ' (I do not remember) 
to every important question put to 
them in cross-examination. 

Nonsensational (Critical, 1897). 
Sensational nonsense. 

With a piece of nonsensational ex- 
travagance entitled The MacHaggis, Mr 
Penley on Thursday night re-opened his 
theatre. People, 28th February 1897. 

Norfolk Howard (Popular). A 
bed-bug. Due to a man named 
Buggey advertising a change of name 
to this phrase, a combination of the 
family name and title of the Duke of 
Norfolk. Produced much press com- 
ment and even sympathy for all 
persons with objectionable names. 
The following list of vexatious names 
was compiled and published in the 

Asse, Bub, Belly, Boots, Cripple, 
Cheese, Cockles, Dunce, Dam, Drink- 
milke, Def, Flashman, Fatt, Ginger, 
Goose, Beaste, Barehead, Bungler, 
Bugg, Buggey, Bones, Cheeke, Clodd, 
Cod, Demon, Fiend, Funck, Frogge, 
Ghost, Gready, Hagg, Humpe, Hold- 
water, Headach, Jugs, Jelly, Idle, 
Kneebone, Kidney, Licie, Lame, Lazy, 
Leakey, Maypole, Mule, Monkey, 
Milksop, Mudd, Honeybum, Mayden- 
head, Mug, Piddle, Paswater, Pisse, 
Pricksmall, Pricke, Phisicke, Pighead, 
Pot, Poker, Poopy, Prigge, Pigge, 
Punch, Proverbs, Quicklove, Quash, 
Radish, Rumpe, Rawbone, Rottengoose, 
Swette, Shish, Sprat, Sheartlifte, Stiffe, 
Squibb, Sponge, Stubborne, Swine, 
Shittel, Shave, Shrimps, Shirt, Skim, 
Squalsh, Silly, Shoe, Smelt, Skull, 
Spattel, Shadow, Snaggs, Spittle, Teate, 
Taylecoate, Villain, Vittels, Vile, Whale. 

North Castle (Slang of the im- 
pecunious, 1880). Holloway Jail, in 
the north of London. 

Nose (Boating). The extreme tip 
of the bow of a boat. 

Nose and chin (Rhyming). One of 
the modes of referring to gin. 

Nose-bag (Mid. -class, 19 cent.). A 
hospitable house. 

'These gulls', remarked the keeper 
before referred to, ' come now in larger 
numbers from year to year. The fact is 
they are like a good many of the people 
you see walking about if they once find 
out where there's a good nose-bag they 
take care to be near it.' D. T., 22nd 
December 1898. 

Nose-bagger (Seaside Soc.). A 
day visitor to the seaside, who brings 
his own provisions, presumably in a 
bag one who is of no monetary value 
to the resort visited. Contemptuous 
comparison to the cab-horse, or even 
the shore-donkey. 

'Last season was a bad one ; there were 
plenty of visitors, but nearly all "nose- 
baggers " people who come for the day 
and bring their own provisions,' said a 
Southend butcher in his examination at 
the Chelmsford Bankruptcy Court. 
Lloyds', 24th November 1807. 

Noser (Covent Garden). Said of 
visitors to the market who inspect 
the flowers and fruits, sometimes quite 
closely, and who do not buy. 

Nosper (Low London back}. 
Common word for stranger. It is 
' person '. 

Not a feather to fly with (Colloquial 
from Universities). When the word 
' plucked ' was used to designate failure 
to pass an examination, the figure of 
speech was carried out by describing a 
very doleful failure as being plucked 
' without a feather to fly with ' mean- 
ing that no success whatever was 
obtained. Applied in many ways. 

Not dead yet (Theatrical, 1883). 
Ancient generally said of an antique 

Not enough written (Authors', 
1870). Not sufficiently corrected for 

Not in it (Sporting}. Failure re- 
ferring to a horse in a race as having 
no chance. 

The gentleman who declared that gold- 
mining was not in it was strictly correct. 
The gold production in the United States 
is worth between nine and ten millions, 
but the profit upon it is nothing like that 
on sugar. D. T., 26th February 1897. 

Not on Borrowing Terms 

Nursery Noodles 

Not on borrowing terms (American , 
1882). Not in friendly relations said 
of next-door neighbours. 

The families of the two young souls 
were not on ' borrowing terms '. Texas 
Siftings, 1883. 

Not the cheese (Peoples', Hist.). 
Not satisfactory. Dr Brewer abso- 
lutely refers this word back to the 
Persian and the Hindoo cheez, thing ; 
though he says nothing of the journey. 
May be from the French, 'Ce n'est 
pas la chose' chose being used a great 
deal for thing in the sixties. 

Not to-day, Baker (Peons', 1885). 
Said at a youth who is paying atten- 
tions which are obviously unwelcome. 
Term used by housewives refusing bread 
when the morning baker calls. But 
satirically applied in reference to a 
military man of this name who was 
given into custody for pressing his 
attentions upon a young lady travelling 
by accident alone with him. 

The gentleman signs himself ' Baker ', 
and wants to try an experiment on my 
family. In the words of the poet, I 
reply, 'Not to-day, Baker !' Ref. , 8th 
March 1885. 

Not too nice (Soc., 1870 on). First 
degree of condemnation equals bad. 
Outcome of the frequent use of nice. 

Not up to Dick (Common Respectable 
Life). Not well ; ill and wretched. 

Not worth a rap (Irish, Hist.). 
Worth nothing. In the early years of 
the 18th century, from 1721, notwith- 
standing the savage Drapier Letters, 
copper money was so rare in Ireland 
that a quantity of base metal was in 
circulation in the shape of small coins. 
They came to be called raps probably 
the short of rapparee, a good-for- 
nothing fellow hence the word came 
to be applied to describe valuelessness. 

Note (Soc., 1860 on). Intellectual 
signature, polite war-cry. 

Culture is the 'note' of Boston. 
D. N., 18th November 1884. 

Notergal Wash, or N. Wash (L. 
Class, 1857 on). No wash at all 
grubbiness. Very interesting if from 
Nightingale. Miss Nightingale, the 
creator (1855-56) of rational nursing, 
had the misfortune to incur the lower 
public satire for stating that a person 
could keep himself clean on a pint of 
washing water per day. She did not 
say he was preferably to do this. 

Nothing to do with the case 

(Peoples', Hist.). Elegant evasion of 
' you lie ! ' Made very popular by Mr 
W. S. Gilbert's The Mikado, wherein 
Mr G. Grossmith had a capital song 
which began : 

' The flowers that bloom in the spring 
Have nothing to do with the case.' 

Nottub (Back phrasing). Button. 

Now or never (Rhyming). Clever. 

Well, these Tommy Rotters kid the 
poor judy they're very rich, and if they're 
now and never they get carefully carried 
(married) to her. Biography of Cheap 
Heiress Hunters, 1882. 

Now we're busy (Peoples', 1868). 
To suggest action. Also an evasive 
intimation that the person spoken of 
is no better for his liquor, and is about 
to be destructive. 

Now we shan't be long (Peoples', 
1895 on). Intimation of finality. 
Origin obscure. Probably from rail- 
way travellers' phrase when near the 
end of a journey. 

' Now we shan't be long ', said Henry 
Martin to Thomas Hiom, as the couple 
equipped themselves with a pair of 
double-barrelled catapults and a copious 
supply of indiarubber pellets, and started 
off on a partridge-shooting expedition to 
the Finchley Road. D. T. , 8th Septem- 
ber 1896. 

Now we shall be shan't (Dec. 
1896). Another jocular shape of 
'Now we shan't be long' and pur- 
posely having no meaning. 

Nudities (Critics, 1890 on). New 
shape of ' nude studies ' or ' nudes '. 

The nudities, though of the usual 
class, are fewer and less fragrant than 
usual, the horrors less horrible, and what 
may be called the medical pictures less 
repulsive. D. N., 19th April 1898. 

Nuf ced (From America). Con- 
traction of ' enough said ' absurdly 
spelt. Warning to say no more. 
Used in Liverpool chiefly. 

Number one (Navy). Strictly naval 
for first lieutenant. 

Nuptiated (Wilful American). 

Nurse the hoe-handle (Agricultural 
American). Lazy. 

Nursery noodles (Literary). Critics 
who are very fastidious. 



O (Peoples', Hist. ). Most emphatic 
form of liking and satisfaction always 
used as a suffix. " What ! " 

O (Printers'). Emphatic, and abbre- 
viation of overseer. 

9- B. (Criminal). Old Bailey, City 
Criminal Court. 

O. P. H. (Polit., 1886). Old Par- 
liamentary Hand meaning Gladstone. 
Invented by Times (February 1886). 

O. T. (Street, Satirical, 1880). One 
way of observing that the weather is 

O. V. (Sooth). Abbreviation of 
oven the name given to the open 
pace below the stage in which the 
Pepper's ghost illusion is worked. 
This apparatus, which is at an angle 
of 35, and upon which the phantom- 
ised comedians lie, is surrounded by 
lamps, and is very hot hence the 
title. (See Phant.) 

OVO (Low Class, Hist.} Quite 
inexplicable. No solution ever ob- 
tained from the initiates. 

O Bergami, or O Begga me 
(London Peoples', 1820). Still used in 
the streets as intimating that the 
person addressed is a liar, or worse. 
From one Ber'gami a lying witness at 
the trial of Queen Caroline whose 
denial of everything brought about 
this phrase, with his eternal ' non mi 
ricordo '. (See Non me.) 

O chase me (Streets, 1898 on). 
Satiric invitation, or pretended satiric, 
ty a maiden to a youth to run after 
her and hug and kiss her. 

O Cheese and Crust (Lower 
Peoples'). 0, Jesus Christ ! 

O cricum jiminy (Peoples', Hist.). 
An exclamation of pretended fear. 

O ! cry ! (Peoples'). Exclamation 
of satiric surprise, confounded with 
cry, but probably nothing to do with 
it. ' ! crickey ! ' may be another 
shape of the expression. May be an 
evasion of ' ! Christ ! ' 

O dear me 1 (Peoples'). Exclamation 
of regret. Probably from the Court of 

Katharine of Arragon (Henry VIII.), 
or perhaps from that of Catherine of 
Braganza (Charles II.). 

' Ay di mi ! ' as the Spaniards say, we 
shall have no Pomard this year ! The 
storms of yesterday and of Monday have 
devastated the vineyards. D. N., 1874. 
O Gomorrah to you ! (Com. Life). 
Play of a word upon ' to-morrow ', and 
said either savagely or jocularly. 

O good night ! (Low English). 
Meaning, ' This is too much I think 
I must be going.' 

O ! la ! (European almost histori- 
cal). ! law ! The influence of the 
Crusades upon European society was 
notoriously immense. Surely some 
expressions were imported ? What 
more likely than that of * Allah ! ' 
which is in the mouth of every Maho- 
medan at all times, and always at the 
beginning of a sentence ? * Hullo ! ' 
may be from the same source. 

O my eye (Peoples' Old Catholic). 
Corruption of ' Ah mihi 'the opening 
words of the prayer to St Martin, the 
patron of beggars. Implies doubt, and 
a suggestion of deceptive utterance. 
O. P. H. (Street, 19 cent.). Off. 
O Pollaky 1 (Peoples', 1870). Ex- 
clamation of protest against too urgent 
enquiries. From an independent, self- 
constituted, foreign detective, who 
resided on Paddington Green, and 
became famous for his mysterious and 
varied advertisements, which invari- 
ably ended with his name (accent on 
the second syllable), and his address. 

O soldiers ! (Peoples'). Exclamation 
not now often heard. 

O Smith ! (Peoples', 1835 - 50). 
Cavernous laugh, very popular, for 
nearly a score of years. ' What an 
Smith ' would be the comment upon 
hearing a grim 'Ha-ha'. Smith 
always did the frequent Adelphi 
villains of that day, also the un- 
scrupulous villains. 

O the language 1 (Peoples 1 ). 
Generally said to a drunken woman 
using violent or spluttering English. 

O Willie, Willie (Peoples', 1898). 
Term of satiric reproach addressed to a 
taradiddler rather than a flat liar. 

Oak (Rhyming). Joke very 
common. Now passed into chestnut. 

Oaky-pokeys (Devonshire). Cock- 



Old Ebenezer 

Oat-stealer (Country Tavern). 
Ostler. A play upon the original word. 

Obvious (Soc. t 1897). Fat, stout. 
Origin evident. 

'Mary, you are becoming too obvious. ' 

Obviously severe (Soc., 1890 on). 
Hopelessly rude of speech. 

Occifer (Colloquial imbecile, 19 cent. ). 

Ochorboc (Italian organ-grinders'). 
Beer. The word is here found by 
taking the first letter of the word 
' bochor ' and adding it to the end, also 
adding 'oc'. The original word is 
'Bocca' (mouth). 

Odd job man (Trade). Modified 
description of the Shyster, who pro- 
fesses to do anything and only does his 

Odd-fellows (Peoples'). Name of a 
mutual benefit society. Corruption of 

Odd's Bobs (Peoples'). God's Babe 
(the Redeemer). May be found in 
Roderick Random. 

Od's death. The Crucifixion Hia 
death ; long since passed into 'Sdeath. 

Od's fish (Peoples', Hist.). Scotch 
exclamation, probably brought south 
by James I. ' Od ' is an evasion of 
'God', while fish is a Scotticism for 
fash, which in its turn is from /ache", 
one of the French terms brought into 
Scotland through French influence. 

Od's my life (Lower Class). One of 
the religious adiurations ' God's my 

Know Lieutenant Bowling odd's my 
life ! and that I do. Roderick Random, 
ch. xxiv. 

Odsbud (Peoples'). Is probably 
God's Bud and meaningthe Redeemer, 
or it may be God's Blood. (See Tom 
Jones, bk. xvi., ch. viii.) 

Odso (Provincial). Now only heard 
in country places. One of the evasive 
religious ejaculations of 17th century 
'God's oath'. 

Young Mirabel : ' Odso the relics, 
madam, from Rome ! ' Farquhar, The 

Off chump (Stable). No appetite 
onomatope of the noise made by horses 
in eating. 

Off the rails (line) (Peoples', 1840 
on). Unsteady. 

Officers of the 52nds (Irish City of 
Cork). Known generally in Irish 
garrison towns. Young men, chiefly 
clerks and shopkeepers, who make a 
rigid official appearance on Sundays. 
There are fifty-two Sundays in a year. 

Officers' wives (Army, 19 cent.). 

The bugle sang out 'Officers' wives 
have puddings and pies, while soldiers' 
wives have skilly', that is the soldiers' 
translation of the call to mess. Re/., 
10th April 1885. 

Ofters (Sporting, 1884). Fre- 

We may almost assume that the 
principle of heredity has once again 
asserted itself, and that the youthful 
' of ters ' whom I saw in the Haymarket 
the other night, all shirt front and fur 
collar, are the offspring of the very same 
sort of tpringalds who exploited them- 
selves thirty years ago in the very self- 
same neighbourhood. Ref., 23rd 
December 1888. 

Og-rattin (Land. Restaurant). Au 
gratin anglicization. 

Ogotaspuotas (Street, S. L., 1897). 
Bosh, nonsense. At once dubbed ' Oh, 
go to spue'. Legend upon a Radical 
flag carried on Sunday, 7th March 1897, 
to Hyde Park and to a meeting in 
favour of the Cretans. 

Old boots, To fight like. Fight 
like Marlborough the first English 
general to wear immense jack boots. 
William III. preceded him in this 
display but the Orange's were lighter 
boots. For several generations Marl- 
borough was the people's hero. Indeed 
he was only displaced first by Nelson, 
and then by Wellington. The heroes 
have given several boots to society 
Wellington and Blucher amongst 
others. ' My dawg can fet like old 
boots, and shoon too.' 

Old boys (Soc., 1880). Old school- 

An ' Old Boy's ' Dinner. An ' Old 
Boy's' dinner of Amersham and 
Amersham Hall School was held last 
night at the Freemasons' Tavern, when 
about 130 were present. 2). N., 9tk 
April 1885. 

Old Ebenezer (American - Sport). 
Grizzly and grisly bear. Probably 
applied from its appearance. 

The hunter on the lonely heights of 
the Rocky Mountains is far too well 

Old Gal 

On (a Bit o') Toast 

armed to-day to fear either a ' mountain 
lion ', as the panther is locally called, or 
'Old Ebenezer', the renowned grizzly 
bear himself. D. N., 2nd February 1883. 

Old gal (Peoples'}. General term of 
affection describing a wife. 

Old gang ^Parliamentary, 1870- 
1900). Ancient Tory party uncom- 
promising Tories, generally old men. 

Lord Randolph Churchill has probably 
not gained all the points on which he was 
disposed to insist. But, in deference to 
his opinion, there will no doubt be a 
clearance out of some of those whom the 
Fourth Party is in the habit of politely 
designating as the 'Old Gang'. Mr J. 
Chamberlain, 17th June 1885. 

Old geyser (Street). Elderly man. 

Old hat (Old English and new Aus- 
tralian). Modern anatomical reference 
very cogent, but not explainable. 

I shall conclude this note with remark- 
ing that the term ' old hat ' is at present 
used by the vulgar in no very honourable 
sense. Fielding, Jonathan Wild. 

Old Mother Hubbard (Common 
English, 1880). Fictional said of a 
story which is past belief. 

Old moustache (Street, 1880). 
Elderly vigorous man with grey 

' Prisoners of War ', two English 
middies, one of them with his arm in 
a sling, on a bench in a French seaport. 
An old moustache guards them. D. N., 
9th April 1885. 

Old put (Soc., early 19 cent. now 
Peoples). A pretentious, stupid, aged 
gentlemanly man. Derived probably 
from a proper name. 

It is quite credible that such a man, 
meeting in an omnibus an elderly gentle- 
man of antiquated air and costume, 
should consider it funny to insult the 
' old put ' by pretending to be an inti- 
mate acquaintance, and accosting him 
with a familiar 'How's Maria?' St 
James 1 Gazette, 7th August 1883. 

Old Shake (Amer. Press, 1870). 

Old shoes. Rum. (See Old boots. ) 

Old Shovel-penny ( Military). The 
pay-master, who is generally an an- 

Old slop (London, 19 cent.). A 
corruption of ' saloop ', derived from 
the French ' salope '. Applied to the 
Times newspaper from 1840-50, to in- 
timate that it was bowing and smiling 

on all sides, and trying to attract, 
while having no will of its own. 

Old splendid (American, 19 cent.). 
Splendid in the highest. 

Old Whiskers (Street, 19 cent.). 
Cheeky boys' salute to a working-man 
whose whiskers are a little wild and 

Old Wigsby (Middle - class). 
Crotchety, narrow - minded, elderly 
man, who snappishly can see no good 
in any modern thing. Same in French 
equivalent perruque. 

M. Halevy, whom he welcomed at the 
Academy, is also no perruque, or solemn 
big wig, and it may be said, with some 
emphasis, that he is no prude D. N., 
February 1886. 

Olds, middles, and youngs (Pro- 
vincial). Scotch, English, and Irish. 

Some one who had studied the idio- 
syncrasies of the three chief component 
parts of the United Kingdom, summed 
up his experiences of them by comparing 
the Scotch to old people, the English to 
middle-aged, and the Irish to children. 
D. N., 5th March 1885. 

Oldster (Slang, Clubs, 1884). Age- 
ing man. Gift from U.S.A. 

You mustn't trust the oldsters too 
implicitly when they endeavour to per- 
suade you, as they always will, that 
there never was such a time as their 
time. Ref., 7th March 1886. 

Olive oil (Music Hall, 1884). Eng- 
lish pronunciation of Au revoir. 

Oliver (Compound Rhyming). Fist. 
As thus : Oliver Twist. Derived from 

Omnes (Wine Merchants'). Word 
for the mixtures of odds and ends of 
various wines. 

On dig (School). Abbreviation of 
' on his dignity '. 

On for a tatur (Peoples'). Fas- 
cinated, enraptured. Said of a man 
talking to a barmaid, and making eyes 
at her. Evidently from Ute-&-Mte. 

On his ear (Amer.-Eng.). In dis- 
grace from American handy mothers 
grabbing their boys' ears while battling 
in the streets with other boys. 

On his feet (American). Ruined. 
Qnice(Amer.-Eng.\ Dead. From 
placing body on ice to aid in ' faking 
it . 

On (a bit o') toast. 'He had me 
on (a bit o') toast ' ; figuratively to 


On the Back Seam 

Oner over the Gash 

say he absorbed or swallowed me so 
readily that the act was no more 
trouble to him than swallowing any- 
thing that will lie on a fragment of 
the toast in question. 

On the back seam (Tailors'}. An- 
other elegant evasion. Flat on the 

On the beer (Peoples'). Evident. 
On the bias (Dressmakers'). Ille- 
gitimate. On the cross. 

On the deck ( Costers' local). Living 
in Seven Dials. (See Deck.) 

On the marry (American). Look- 
ing out for a wife or husband. 

On the nail (Peoples'). Immediate 
payment no trust. From the habit 
of ancient shop - keepers having a 
square - headed, large nail driven 
through the counter. Upon its head 
the money in payment was laid. 

On the pig's back (Irish}. In 
luck's way. Comes from Rome. 
During the reigns of the Twelve a 
golden amulet in the shape of a pig 
was supposed to bring good luck. 

On the pounce (Irish). Preparing 
to spring, verbally. Brought into 
sudden fashion by Mr E. Harrington, 
H.R., M.P. (13th September 1887). 
Upon his being suspended he observed, 
'You, Mr Speaker, have been on the 
pounce for me since I rose you have 
been on the pounce waiting for me 
all the evening, and I claim my right 
to speak. 

Mr Smith has the further* function of 
keeping ready ' on the pounce ', as the 
irreverent phrase goes to clap on the 
closure whenever he and his colleagues 
think they have had enough of a debate. 
D. N., 10th October 1890. 

On the run (Anglo American). 

On the slate (Loiver Peoples'). 
Written up against you from the 
credit-slate kept in chandlers' shops. 

On the square (Peoples'). Totally 
honest and straightforward. From 
Freemasonry, where the square is 
typical of everything that is good. 

On the tapis ( Diplomatic). Rumour, 
equivalent to ' on dit '. 

On velvet (Mid. class 1860), 
Luxurious success. 

Once (Street). Vigour, go, cheek 
the substantivizing of ' on ' most 


I like Shine I cannot help admiring 
the large amount he possesses of what is 
vulgarly called 'once'. Rcf., 24th 
October 1886. 

Once a week man or Sunday 
promenader (London, 1830-40). Man 
in debt. Could only go out on Sunday, 
because on that day no arrests for 
debt could be made. (See Egan's Eeal 
Life in London. ) 

Onces (Artisans'). Wages ab- 
breviation of ' once a week '. 

One and a peppermint drop (Com. 
London). One-eyed person. 

One bites (Loud. Costers, 1870 on). 
Small, acrid apples which, being 
tested with one bite, are thrown away. 

One consecutive night (Soc. and 
Stage). Enough. 

The second lecture is almost invariably 
a dismal failure. ' One consecutive night ' 
is the limit of the funny man's course. 
D. N., 15th August 1890. 

One drink house (Common London, 
19 cent.). Where only one serving is 
permitted. If the customer desire a 
second helping, he has to take a walk 
' round the houses ' after the first. 

One leg trouser (Soc. , 1 882). Tight, 
feminine skirt of the period. 

. . . and ladies in the latest ' one-leg- 
trouser' fashion from Paris. D. J\ T ., 
18th April 1883. 

(See Eel-skin.) 

One of them (Streets). A shilling. 

One of those (Peoples' 1880). An 
obscure phrase, coming probably from 
a comic song entitled, ' I really must 
have one of those'. No ascertained 
meaning above the class in which it 
originated but evidently quite under- 
stood by its patrons. Remained in 
gutter fashion for about four years, 
when it fell from its high intent. 

1.30 (Tavern). That is to say, ' one 
hour and a half derived from railway 
mode of counting time. 

One-eyed city (American). A poor, 
inactive place. 

One - light - undershirt - and - no - 
suspenders weather (American). 
Very hot. 

One-two (Peoples'). Familiar figure 
of speech for rapidity. 

Oner over the gash (Peoples'). 
A blow over the mouth. 


Ought to Know 

Oolfoo (Low. Cl-ass). Fool. 

He'll make the judy think that you're 
the biggest oolfoo that ever was started 
on the blessed earth. 

Oons (Provincial Romanesque). 
Evasion of ' God's wounds '. Once 
pronounced 'ouns'. (See 'Tare an' 
ouns ', ' Hounds '). 

' No hang it. 'Twill never do oons.' 
Farquhar, The Inconstant. 

Op (Soc., 1870). Opera. 

Open-airs (Salvationist). Meetings 
beyond roofs. 

We have had some blessed heart-re- 
joicing times. Last week three sinners 
wept their way to Calvary, and enlisted 
to fight under the blood-stained banner. 
Our open-airs are glorious. War Cry, 

Open door (Polit., 1898). Colonial 
free trade. Heard long before this 
year, but took form in the autumn of 
this, due to the discord in China 
when England urged that Chinese 
commerce should be equally free to 
all nations hence the term, which at 
once passed over Europe. 

Open eye (Trade, 1899). Correla- 
tive and completion of open door 
meaning that though the foreigner may 
trade with the whole empire, a sharp 
eye must be kept on him. Invention 
of Mr Stuart Wortley (at Stoke-upon- 
Trent, December 1899), who said in a 
dinner-speech : ' For our commercial 
prosperity we needed the open eye as 
well as the open door.' 

Open to (L. London). To tell 

I knew then that Selby had got a bit 
more (money) than he opened to (told) 
me. People, 6th January 1895. 

Opera (Amer., 1880). Perversion 
of 'uproar'. 

Operation (Tailors'). Patch, especi- 
ally in relation to the rear of trousers. 

Opportunism (Polit., 1860 on). 
Shaping ways to most available means. 
Used rather in contempt, as subserving 
conscience to convenience, or to per- 
sonal advantage. 

Opt (American passing to England, 
1882). Abbreviation of verb ' optate '. 

Food and treatment are much better 
at lunatic asylums than at gaols, or in 
casual wards; therefore Mr Wickham 
'opts' for lunatic asylums. D. N., 
February 1882. 

Order (Theat.). Free pass. 

Order dead-head (Theat., 1880). 
Patron of the theatre the dead-head 
who passes on with an order. ' Dead- 
head' (q.v.) comes from America, and 
is there unqualified by the word ' order' 

On Monday the house was quite full of 
what looked like money, leavened by a 
faint sprinkling of the order dead-head. 
Ref., 17th April 1885. 

Order of the Boot (M. Class). A 
species of violent assault. The order 
of knighthood is bestowed by a tap 
with a sword on the shoulder. The 
Order of the Boot is conferred by the 
toe of the boot farther down. 

Orf chump (Peoples'). No appetite. 
' Orf is a variation of ' off'. Derived 
from stablemen's tongues in reference 
to their horses ' I'm orf chump alto- 

Orf his chump (Peoples'). Mad, 
cranky. It has nothing to do with 
' orf chump '. Means ' off his head ' 
his brain not in order. 

Ornary (American). Expression 
for contemptible. Corruption of ' or- 
dinary '. 

But I was roused by a fiendish laugh 
That might have raised the dead 
Them ornary sneaks had sot the clocks 
A half an hour ahead ! 

Ornin' (L. Class). Boasting, praising 
oneself. Probably from the bombastic 
self-assertion of the hunter's horn. 
Chiefly provincial. 

Otamies (Lower Peoples'). Surgical 
operations of all kinds. Probable cor- 
ruption of anatomies. 

And now, poor man, he is among the 
otamies, at Surgeons' Hall. Gay, Beg- 
gars' Opera. 

Other arrangements (Theatrical). 
Defeat retreat. 

Wherefore Hartt, though still by no 
means bowed down by weight of woe or 
otherwise, thinks it now time to make 
other arrangements. Ref., 5th July 

Other side (Anglo-American). In 
U.S.A. it is G. Britain. In G. B. it 
is U.S.A. 

Ouah (Erotic, Peoples', 1882). Ex- 
clamation of delight. 

Ought to know (Soc. ). Expression 
of belief in capability of person spoken 



Out (Peoples'). Loss. Sometimes 
used in the plural. 

Out (Soc. and Peoples', 19 cent.). 

Nor is Russian statesmanship our only 
trouble at the present moment. Prince 
Bismarck is or has been ' out with us ', 
as the children say. D. N., 6th March 

Out of commission (Clerks'). Re- 
quiring an appointment. 

Out of the cupboard (Peoples', 
Soys'). Turn out in the world. 

Out of mess (Military, Hist.). 
Dead he eats no more. 

In the Eastern Soudan, in 1884, at El 
Teb, many of our men were wounded 
indeed, I believe, some killed by the 
wounded, wily enemy ; and it became 
necessary, as we searched the field for 
our own dead and wounded, to put some 
of these treacherous foes out of rness ; 
but there was no unnecessary butchery. 
D. T., 7th January 1899. 

Out of sorts (Printers'). Literally, 
out of sorts of types some of the 
composing compartments empty. This 
term is quite obsolete now that com- 
posing machines are universal. 

Out of the tail of the eye (Irish). 
Furtive observation. 

Out of the whole cloth (Amer.). 
Untruth in the deepest degree. Equi- 
valent to ' Whole hog ' (q.v.}. 

Out of the wood (American). Out 
of the difficulty. Derived from pioneers 
and others in the West. 

Outs (Polit., 19 cent.). The Oppo- 

While the Outs look upon this dis- 
covery as a tremendous blow to the Ins, 
while Tory newspapers insist that all this 
is the outcome of Liberal concessions, 
there is little or no chance of our getting 
the remedy that is so necessary. Ref., 
25th February 1883. 

Outs (Anglo- Amer. ). Out of friend- 
ship. Probably old provincial English. 

It is currently believed that Mrs Willie 
K. Vanderbilt, nee Alva Smith, and the 
Baroness Fontenilliat, nee Mimi Smith, 
are decidedly and emphatically on the 
outs. New York Mercury, 1892. 

Outside Eliza (Low. London). 
Drunk again, Eliza. Applied to in- 
toxicated, reeling women. Derived 
from a police case where a barman 
stated that he said to the prisoner 
over and over again, ' Outside, Eliza ' 

but she would not go, and finally 
smashed a plate-glass window. 

Outward man (Devon). A guzzler, 
one who does not stop at home. 

Ovate (American - English, 90's). 
Verb derived from ovation. 

An acute stage of the troubles in China 
seems to have been thoughtlessly ended 
by the Allies without their Commander- 
in-Chief, who was really very busy being 
received and ovated. N. Y. Times, 
August 1900. 

Over the bender (Old English). 
Implying that the statement made is 
untrue, e.g., ' You'll pay me cock sure 
on Monday ? ' ' Yes over the bender.' 
The bender is the elbow. It is 
historical in common English life that 
a declaration made over the elbow 
as distinct from not over it, need not 
be held sacred. Probably from early 
Christian if not from Pagan times. 
The bender is always the left elbow, 
and may therefore have something to 
do with 'over' the left. 

Over the lefter (Poachers'). A 
partridge before 1st September, or a 
pheasant before 1st October. 

Over the stile (Rhyming). Com- 
mitted for trial. 

Over-eye (Peoples', old). To watch. 

Owl, Biled (Eng.-Amer., 1880 on). 
Bad complexion signs facial of dis- 
But Christmas scooped the sheriff, 

The egg-nogs gathered him in ; 
And Shelby's boy, Leviticus, 

Was, New Year's, tight as sin ; 
And along in March the Golyers 

Got so drunk that a fresh-biled owl 
Would 'a' looked 'longside o' them two 
young men, 

Like a sober temperance fowl. 

Col. Hay, U.S.A., Ambassador 
to Eng., 1897. 

Oyster months (Peoples', Hist.). 
All the months (8) in which there 
is an ' R ' oysters being quite ' out ' 
in May, June, July, August. 

Oysterics (Mid. -class, 1900-04 on). 
A coined word, suggesting hysterics, 
to satirize the panic in reference to 
oysters creating typhoid fever. 

Once again the public is thrown into a 
state of what is grimly known in the 
trade as ' oysterics ', owing to reports of 
deaths at Portsmouth from infected 
oysters. It is two years since the great 
oyster scare followed on the deaths 
following the mayoral banquet at Win- 
chester. D. T., llth November 1904. 


P. 0. 

Paint tlie Town Red 

P. C. (Soc., 1880). Initials of 'poor 

P. P. and C. C. (Irish). Parish 
priest ; Catholic curate. 

P. P. C. (Middle-class). Snappish 
good-bye. Of course from departure 
card, Pour prendre conge". 

P. P. C. (Soc., 19 cent.). Pour 
prendre conge". Used in two ways, 
when sending a card. If without 
addition, it means good-bye if with 
future date added, it means au revoir. 

P. P. C., To (Soc., 1880 on). To 
quarrel and cut. 

P. P. M. (Soc., 19 cent.). Initials 
of Pour Ptit Moment, a modification of 
P. P. C. 

P. R. (Sporting). Initials of Prize 

P. R. B. (Soc., 1848 on). Pre- 
Raphaelite Brotherhood. Sometimes 
ironically styled 'the Purby'. In 
1848 three artists, D. G. Rosetti, 
Holman Hunt and J. E. Millais, 
formed a brotherhood, with these 
letters following their names. Several 
other painters joined them, together 
with T. Woolner, the sculptor. 
Theirs was a revival of religion in 
art, religion which the brotherhood 
maintained had been swept out of 
Italian art by the materialistic force 
of the Renaissance. 

The Pre-Raphaelite brethren, or 
'P.R.B.'s,' as they are familiarly 
called, brought skill, earnestness, and 
thoroughness to the purpose of over- 
turning established beliefs in matters 
artistic. D. N., November 1885. 

P. S. (Theatrical). Prompt side 
first entrance left hand of the stage, 
when facing the audience. 

P. S.'s (Hatter's term). This secret 
trade phrase is called as here written, 
but is always described in the trade 
by ' x '. It represents a sum of money 
which the master is willing to advance 
to a valuable workman in addition to 
his statement of weekly account, when 
he has made a short week, and which 
P. S. he will repay when a 'long' 
week arrives. 

P. W. Abney (Streets', 1897). A 
high, feminine hat which first appeared 
in 1896, and grew. The phrase is a 
reduction of Prince of Wales Abney 
Cemetery ; it is got from three black, 
upright ostrich feathers, set up at the 
side of the hat in the fashion of the 
Prince of Wales's crest feathers. (See 

P. Y. C. (Baltic Coffee - house). 
Pale yellow candle from this establish- 
ment persistently rejecting gas. 

Pa (Peoples'). Relieving officer of a 

Pack (Navy). Curtailment 01 
' Pactolus '. 

Pack. (Texas). To carry. 

Packing (Peoples'). Food. 

Packing-ken (Low. Class). Eating- 
house because you pack the food in 
your stomach then and there. 

Padder (Oxford). Short for Pad- 
dington Terminus. 

Paddington Station, dearest of all the 
London termini to the undergraduate 
heart during term, is Padder. D. T., 
14th August 1899. 

Paid shot (Old Scotch). 'Shot' is 
a common mode of expression to 
denote a reckoning, etc. ' I have paid 
my shot,' or rather 'scot', from 
'scottum', a tax or contribution, a 

Paint a proof (Printers'). To make 
a number of corrections on a proof, and 
so paint it with ink on both margins. 

Paint the town red (Amer.-Eng., 
1890). Originally to produce a sense 
of danger by night rioting. From 
railway system, where red is the 
danger signal. Now applied in a 
thousand ways. 

The delegates from California are full 
of Chicago firewater, and are in the 
streets howling for Elaine and threaten- 
ing to paint the town red. 

An effectual stop has been put to the 
last eccentricity of the facetious ex- 
Communist Maxime Lisbonne, who had 
lately, it will be remembered, en- 
deavoured to ' paint the town red ' by 
promenading the streets of Paris in a 
scarlet brougham. D. T.. 6th November 

After a time variety was gained by 
the use of vermilion. 

There are no dreary exhibitions of 
' comic ' drunkenness as if drunkenness 


Paint-Brush Baronets 


could ever be comical nor any repre- 
sentation of 'racketty' young bloods 
painting the place vermilion. 

Paint-brush baronets (Soc., 1885). 
Title invented for ennobled artists. 

The two paint-brush baronetcies are 
also sure to be popular. Mr Watts has 
his admirers in the circles of ' culture ', 
and is a magnificent artist of the 
imaginative school. Mr Christmas 
Number Millais is, however, a household 
word, and popular with all classes. Now 
he is a bart. he will be more popular 
still, and his pictures will fetch bigger 
prices than ever. Ref., 28th June 1885. 

Painter stainers (Soc., 1883). 
Artists. At the Royal Academy 
Banquet, 1883, remarkable for much 
erratic observation, the Lord Mayor 
endeavoured to obtain a lift for the 
then threatened glories of the city 
by declaring that ' in earlier times the 
Corporation was the means whereby 
art was fostered in this country, and 
we have still amongst us a body which 
has devoted itself largely to the en- 
couragement of Art namely, the 
Painter Stainers' Company, which 
existed in the reign of Edward III., 
and is still in a flourishing condition. 
This company may really be described 
as having been the Royal Academy of 
England until the foundation of the 
present Academy in 1761 '. 

For the remainder of the season 
artists were in society jocularly called 
painter-stainers. Indeed the term 
lasted for many seasons. 

Pair o' compasses (London, 1880). 
This term for a couple of human legs 
(in connection with a human body) 
came into vogue when the narrowness 
of the trousers brought out the 
stretched, compass-like effect of a pair 
of long legs. (See Gas-pipes.) 

Pair o' round -mys (Low Life}. 

Palpitate with actuality (A merican- 
Eng., 1885). Intensely evident. 

As no one of any influence is at present 
proposing a separation between Church 
and State, the vow does not, in the 
beautiful phrase which has been wafted 
to us across the Atlantic, ' palpitate with 
actuality '. D. N., 12th November 1885. 

Pan out boss (American Miners 1 }. 
Successful. Pan out is derived from 
the process of washing for gold. 

Panic (Stock Exchange, 19 cent.}. 

Sudden alarm, followed by fall in 

Pannum (Thieves'}, Bread, dinner. 
Panny (Low Peoples'). A familiar 

Panny (Low Peoples'}. Fight 
amongst women. 

Panorama (Lower Class}. Para- 
phrase of paramour. 

Mr Branson, the bank forger, murders 
his wretched panorama, Mary Power, 
and departs for Australia. Ref., 17th 
November 1889. 

Pantile Park (London}. View of 
roofs and chimney pots. Used by 
Charles Dickens upon viewing the 
scene from Foster's back windows at 
58 Lincoln's Inn Fields. 

Panto (Theatrical). Brief for 
pantomime. Who would call a 
pantomime by any other name than 
this, would be voted an outsider at a 
blow. 'I now hear that this house 
is not to be altered until after the 

Pantry Politics (Soc., 1884). 
Servants' talk. 

The case has laid bare one side of 
' Society journalism ', or, if we may 
suggest an amendment, ' pantry politics ', 
and very curious the revelation is. Sat. 
Rev., 21st March 1885. 

Pants - shoulder (American). The 
broadest part of a pair of trousers. 

Paper house (Theatrical). No 
money all free admissions. 

Paper trunk and twine lock 
(Figurative Anglo - American). The 
least possible amount of luggage 
packed in an old news sheet and 

Paperer (Theatrical, 1879). The 
official who issues ' paper ', or free 
passes, and so ' papers the house '. 

Results showed that the ' paperer ' 
understood his business. Ref., 14th 
June 1885. 

Par-banging (Street). Tramping, 
seeking for work. Origin obscure 
but probably French. 

Par-leader (Press, 1875). A short, 
commenting article, in which no break 
occurs. A little essay of perhaps a 
score of sentences, but all in one 

Parable (Amer. - Eng.). Long, 
dreary egotistical statement. 


Parish Pick-Axe 


Parish pick-axe (Peoples'). A 
prominent nose. 

Parker (Local L., 1850 and on). 
Street description of a very well-dressed 
man in the neighbourhood of the 

Parliament Whiskey (Irish). 
Satirical description of potheen which 
has paid inland revenue dues. 

If you are very ignorant, you must be 
told that poteen is the far famed liquor 
which the Irish, on the faith of the pro- 
verb, 'stolen bread is sweetest', prefer, 
in spite of law, and no not of law- 
givers, they drink it themselves, to its 
unsuccessful rival, parliament whiskey. 
Mirror, 1829. 

Parlour-jumper (Police, 1870 on). 
From jump, to thieve, to start property 
from you to him. 

A constable explained that the prisoner 
was known as a ' parlour-jumper '. This, 
in ordinary language, meant that he 
went in for robbing rooms. D. T., 4th 
August 1898. 

Parnelliament (Soc., 1886). In- 
vented and accepted name for ' Parlia- 
ment ' from the astounding success of 
Parnell in throwing the Conservatives 
and Liberals into confusion. 

Parrot and monkey time (Amer.- 
Eng., 1885). Period of quarrelling. 
Started from a droll and salacious tale 
of a monkey and a parrot. Soon 
shortened to parroty. 

There is no work to be had for them 
and the unfortunate creatures are likely 
to have what has graphically been called 
' a parroty time ' in their new home. 

Leonard and the chairs have had what 
Leonard's gay countrymen call 'a parroty 
time'. D. N., 12th October 1886. 

Parsley bed (Peoples', Hist.}. The 
supposed matrix of the new baby, as 
chronicled in nurseries. (See Visit 
from the stork. ) 

Part that goes over the fence last 
(American). Evident. 

Parts his hair with a towel 
(American, 1882). Bald. 

Pas de Lafarge (Soc., '40's). 
Tabooed subject as the result of its 
being over discussed. Did or did not 
Madame Lafarge poison her husband ? 
The dinner discussions became as great 
a bore as did, long after, the Tichborne 
case which by the way, led to the 
yell at dinner tables' No Tich '. In 
Paris, for years, when a man showed 

himself a bore, the protest ran ' Pas 
de Lafarge '. Now ' Pas de Dreyfus '. 
Pass round the arm (American). 
To apply open-handed castigation to 
children after the manner of applause. 

Pass the Rubicon (Classic). Venture 
everything, no going back. 

Pattern (Irish). Delightful, 
brilliant. Abbreviation of 'pattern 
fair ', which is a corruption of ' patron 
fair', which is short for ' patron saint'. 

Paul capstan (Navy). Expression 
of admission of excellency on the other 
side as ' Well, you paul my capstan'. 

Paulies (Transvaal War, 1899). 
Followers of Oom Paul Kruger a pun 
between this word and ' poor lies '. 

' The writer calls the Boers ' Paulies '. 
E. N., 9th December 1899. 

Pawked up stuff (Sporting). False 
goods bad horses, or dogs, or value- 
less ^portsmen. 

Pay out (American miners' passing 
to England}. Derived from a mine 
ceasing to be productive, when it was 
said to have paid out. Passed into 
general use amongst English-speaking 

Peabody (L. Class). Short for 
block of houses built under the Peabody 
Bequest to the poor of London. 

Peacock (Anglo-Indian). Walk up 
and down in full fig while the band 

Peacock and the ladies, Before 
the (Old Eng.}. A solemn promise 
an appeal to knightly honour. 

In olden days the peacock was a 
favourite dish with lords and ladies of 
high degree. It was customary to skin 
the bird without plucking, and send the 
roast bird to table with its natural 
envelop. The peacock was considered in 
the days of chivalry not simply as an ex- 
quisite delicacy, but as a dish of peculiar 
solemnity. When it was brought to the 
table, decorated with its plumage, its 
comb gilded, and a sponge in its bill, wet 
with spirits of wine and lighted, it was 
the signal for the gallant knights present 
to make vows to accomplish some deed 
of chivalry ' before the peacock and the 
ladies '. 

Peacock horse (Street}. Mourning 
coach horse which generally has much 
parade in his movements. 

Pear (Parisian, 1830-48). Name 
given to Louis Philippe from the 


Peas in the Pot 

Permanent Pug 

shape of his head. (See Jupiter 

Peas in the pot (Low London}. 
Rhyming phrase meaning ' hot ', 

Big Tim says you are very peaa. 
Peoples', 6th January 1895. 

Pecksniffian (Peoples'). Hypo- 
critical from Dickens's Martin 

Peel off (City, 1860). To obtain 
money by a Stock Exchange transaction. 

Peel the patch off the weak point 

(A merican) . Expose a man's weakness . 

Peep o' Day tree (Theatrical, 1862). 
In this Exhibition year, one Edmund 
Falconer produced a piece called Peep 
o' Day, at the Lyceum, and made out 
of it a great fortune, chiefly by the 
ingenuity displayed in a stage tree, on 
the edge of a quarry. Its chief branch 
moved on a pivot by the use of which 
the hero swung down on to the stage just 
in time to prevent the murder of the 
heroine. From that time forward this 
providential stage machinery has been 
thus called. 

The hero and heroine escape by a Peep 
o' Day tree, which enables them to 
descend from the cliff, amidst the 
enthusiastic and unanimous applause of 
the audience. Era, April 1883. 

Peg (Theatrical, 1884). Sensation 
point or effect of a piece. Something 
upon which the actors, or more pro- 
bably an actor, can build up a scene. 

Pegging away (American, 
Military). Used by General Grant 
for heavy artillery attack. Previously 
known as a careless phrase, but after 
the Civil War accepted gravely. 

Penances and leatherheads 
(American). People of Pennsylvania 
probably from their early puritanic 
origin still very marked. 

Pencil, open, lost, and found 
(Com. Lond., 19 cent.). Rhyming 
phrase, means 10. 

Pencil dates (Theatrical, 1896 on). 
Make engagements to perform. 

The fourth D'Artagnan is Mr Charles 
Warner, who, full of spirit and energy, 
intends to bombard Suburbia and the 
provinces with the already successful 
Hamilton version, and is, as the phrase 
goes, 'pencilling in dates' as fast as a 
manager can who knows his business. 
D. T., 6th August 1898. 

Pennorth o' treacle (L. London, 
1882). A charming girl the final 
outcome of the use of 'jam '. 

Pennorth o' treason (Newsvendors'). 
Copy of a notorious penny Sunday 
London paper, which attacks every 
party, and has no policy of its own. 

Penny death-traps (L. London 
1897). Penny glass paraffin lamps 
made in Germany. Fragile and easily 
upset ; they caused many deaths. 

Penny gush (1880-82). Exagger- 
ated mode of writing English frequently 
seen in a certain London daily paper. 

This, published in an English paper 
would probably be described as penny 
gush. G. A. Sala, Illustrated London 
News, 16th December 1882. 

Penny loaf (Thieves'}. Cur one 
afraid to steal ; a man who would 
rather live on a penny loaf than steal 
good beef. 

Penny locket (Rhyming}. Pocket. 

While he's got his peepers on the 
penny locket, you know, perhaps, how 
to be a bit careful 

Penny pick (London, circa 1838). 
Cigar. From Pickwick, Dickens's first 
popular creation. 

Penny puzzle (Street, 1883). 
Sausage because it is never found 
out. (See Bag o' mystery.) 

Penny starver (Street). Lowest 
description of cigar commercial value 
three for twopence. 

Penny toff (London, 1870 on). The 
lowest description of toff the cad 
imitator of the follies of the jeunesse 

Perfect lady (Street). Not at 
all one anything but. Satirically 
applied to any woman drunk and mis- 
behaving herself in the streets. The 
phrase took its rise from a police court 
case, in which a witness deposed that, 
though the prisoner did get her living 
in the streets and drank a little, she 
was otherwise a ' perfect lady '. 

Perfumed talk (Anglo-American). 
Satirical synonym for vile language. 

Perhaps (Old Eng.). Equivalent 
to most decidedly. 

Permanent pug (Printers' and 
Tavern). Fighting man around the 
door of the premises. Originally ap- 
plied to the door-porter of editorial 


Perpetual Staircase 


Perpetual staircase (Thieves'). The 

Perpetuana (Norfolk, IS cent.). A 
very strong dress fabric, which lasted 
an immense time. Still applied to 
describe old women in Norfolk. 

Norfolk folk want a little fresh impulse 
now, to restore the flourishing condition 
of their textile manufactures. Beauty 
arrayed herself in bravery that was 
cheap and was not nasty. Perpetuana 
lasted for ever. Athenceum, 1870. 

Perplexed and transient phantom 

(Politics). Politician who fails and 

Lord Salisbury hopes to be something 
more than a 'perplexed and transient 
phantom '. D. N., 1st July 1885. 

Perseus (Soc., 1883). An editor. 
From a phrase used by Professor 
Huxley at the Royal Academy Ban- 
quet, 1883. 

Petit bleu (Franco-Eng. t 1898). 
Forgery. From the colour of the 
French telegraphic paper. 

Then, with regard to the petit bleu 
which Picquart is accused of forging. 
It is true that the address on this tele- 
graphic post card was scratched out, the 
name of the addressee being effaced, 
and that of Easterhazy written over it. 
D. T., 28th November 1898. 

Peto (Soc.). Evasion of P.T.O. 
initials of Please turn over. 

Petticoat interest (Literature, 1860 
on). Those portions of fiction referring 
to womankind. 

Scott did not trouble himself much 
about Maid Marian. He had enough of 
what is now called ' petticoat interest ' 
in his story without her. D. N., 29th 
March 1892. 

Phant (Shatomen's). The sheet of 
plate-glass placed sloping, or diagon- 
ally, on the stage, to reflect from below 
or from the side the illusion known as 
Pepper's ghost. In order to keep the 
secret as far as possible, the word 
glass was never used, but the first 
syllable of phantom. Sometimes 
fant', at other times, in the North, 
' peeble ' a new evasive name. 

Pheasant (Common London). Dried 
herring. (See Two-eyed steak. ) 

Phil and Jim (Oxford, 1890 on). 
Church of S. Philip and S. James. 
This phrase is sometimes pronounced 
' Fillin Jim '. 


Philistine (Soc. ). Formerly an out- 
sider, but with no offensive meaning ; 
but now with an offensive meaning. 

In 1840 Liszt's reputation was at its 
highest, but he met with indifference 
here, and no doubt regarded us as given 
over to philistinism. Ref.. llth April 

Physic-bottle (Peoples'). Doctor. 

Piano (Soc., 1870). To sing small, 
to take a back seat. 

Piccadilly fringe (Loiv. Class, 1884). 
Front hair of women cut short and 
brought down, and curled over the 
forehead. Fashion originated in Paris 
about 1868. 

By Mr Russell When Jarrett talked 
about cutting my hair, she asked me if I 
wanted a ' Piccadilly fringe '. 

What is the ' Piccadilly fringe ' J Cut 
your hair on your forehead. 

Is there anything objectionable about 
that? It makes you look ugly. Arm- 
strong Abduction Case, October 1885. 

Piccadilly window (Street, '90's). 
Single eye-glass worn by some men of 
fashion hence the Piccadilly. 

Pick of the basket (Sporting). 
Best derived from market baskets. 

Some of Sir Watkin's horses are of 
extraordinary build and value. Comet 
stands out foremost, and 'is the pick of 
the basket '. World, 1878. 

Picker -up (Thieves', 19 cent.). 
Woman of the town. 

Picking its eyes (Stock Exchange, 
'90's). Getting the best, or top, of a 
good thing. From S. Africa mining, 
there applied to obtaining the imme- 
diate and easily obtained gold. 

It is to be feared that more attention 
would, naturally, be paid to extracting 
the richest ore from the mines ('picking 
its eyes ', as the popular term is) than to 
proceeding with the regular course of 
development.!). T., 26th July 1900. 

Pickled dog (Provincial). Term of 
contempt rarely now heard. 

Pickles (Peoples'). Exclamation of 
good-tempered mistrust, or even want 
of belief. 

The promoters say that benefit will 
accrue to our Indian fellow-subjects by 
bringing before the English people actual 
representations of the methods of manu- 
factures, amusements, etc., of our vast 
Indian empire, and will thus serve im- 
perial interests. That, of course, is all 
.^e/., 5th July 1885. 



Pickpocketienne (A nglo - French). 
Woman pickpocket. 

Picnic (American-English}. A treat 
from the frequency of picnics in 
America, where there is always room 
for them. 

Native dramatists for the past week 
have enjoyed what the street gamins 
would call a picnic. N. Y. Mercury, 
January 1884. 

Pidgin ( World's Sea-shore). Sim- 
plified mixture of two or three lan- 
guages, of which English is generally 
one. Lingua Franca, the common 
tongue of the Mediterranean, has 
Italian chiefly for its basis, mixed with 
French and Arabic. The word started 
in the Chinese waters. The chief 
English pidgin, sometimes erroneously 
called pigeon, is the mixture of Eng- 
lish with Hindostanee, and of English 
with Chinese but there must in all 
be scores of pidgin in the world, negro 
specimens being the more curious. 
Pidgin is a corruption of business. 

According to Herr Leo Wigner, this 
mysterious Yiddish is not the mere 
barbarous trade-jargon, the ' pidgin- 
Hebrew ', of the indigent alien of White- 
chapel. D. T., 6th July 1899. 

Pie (Eng.- American, 19 cent.). De- 
lightfulvery enjoyable. 

At the depot the light was dim, and so 
it was in the sleeper, as it generally is ; 
but as she got into the car a neat leg in a 
white stocking showed plainly enough to 
make Jim murmur to himself, ' Well, this 
is pie '. N. Y. Mercury, 3rd January 

Piebald eye (Peoples'). Black one 
black by a blow. 

My ! Bill where was yer piebaldered ? 

(See Mouse, Eye in a sling.) 

Piebald mucker sheeny (E. Lond.). 
Low old Jew. 

Pie-pusher (Streets). Street pieman, 
who ceaselessly recommends, or pushes, 
his wares. 

Pieces, All to (Soc. , from Sporting, 
1880). Exhausted generally said of 

She was as pale as death, and trem- 
bling from head to foot. He was 
perfectly satisfied that what she had 
described took place, for when she came 
in she was ' all to pieces '. Statement 
by Sir Beaumont Dixie concerning an 
attack on his wife, Lady Florence Dixie, 
March 1883. 

Pie-shop (London). Dog from the 
supposition (1842), when one Blauchard 
first started a penny pie-shop, that the 
pies were made of dogs. 

Pieuvre (Anglo-French, '60's). 
Prostitute. When Victor Hugo pub- 
lished his Les Travailleurs de la Mer, 
his terrible description of the octopus 
the pieuvre as a creature which 
overcame a man by embraces, was at 
once seized upon by the boulevardier- 
journalists as an apt description of the 
woman of the town. 

Pig months (Peoples', Hist.). All 
the months (eight) in which there is 
an ' R '. These pig months are those 
in which you may more safely eat 
fresh pork than in the others the four 
summer months in fact. 

Pig-bridge (Trin. Col., Cambridge). 
The beautiful Venetian-like bridge 
over the Cam, where it passes St 
John's College, and connecting its 
quads. Thus called because the 
Johnians are styled pigs (q.v.). 

Pigeon pair (Familiar). A boy 
born first, a girl following, within not 
more than two years. Probably from 
the known fidelity of winged pigeon 
pairs to each other. 

Pigs (Trin. Col., Cambridge, 19 
cent.). Name given by the men of 
Trinity to their neighbours of St 

Pigs, An't please the (Pre-Reforma- 
tion, Eng. ). Corruption of ' Please the 
Pyx '. Still common in West England, 
where * x ' becomes ' gs '. (See Please 
the pigs.) 

Pigot or Piggot (Hist., 1888-89). 
Lie unblushing, obvious lie. Passed 
into verb, generally passive to be 
pigotted. From the forger Pigot. 

I must print the verses, and leave the 
reader to judge if I have been Pigotted 
or not. Ref., 17th March 1889. 

Pigtail (Street, obsolete about 1840). 
An old man, from the ancients cling- 
ing to the 18th century mode of wearing 
the hair. 

Pill (Street). Dose, suffering, 
sentence, punishment. Endless in 

Pill (Sailors'). Custom-house officer. 
Because both are so very searching. 

Pill - pusher (Peoples'). Doctor. 
Fine example of the graphic in 


Pillow Securities 

Play Camels 

If the pill-pushers will only chuck it 
out now that diamond rings are poison- 
ous, broughams pestilential, oysters and 
champagne deadly, and villas in Singin's 
Wood fatal in every case, many a man 
will be happy, many a pal will be saved. 

Pillow securities (City, 19 cent.). 
Safe scrip, shares that rarely vary in 

The shares of the earliest cable com- 
panies did not enjoy their present 
character of ' safe ', or, as Mr Draper, 
Secretary of the Eastern Telegraph Com- 
pany, who was associated with Sir John 
Fender thirty years, aptly terms, ' pillow 
securities 'those which do not trouble 
an investor's dreams at night and which 
a man need not worry about. D. T., 8th 
July 1896. 

Pin (Peoples'). To pawn clothes. 

When Lantier was doing up his bundle 
to send to the pawnbroker's, one in- 
telligent pittite shouted out ' Pin ! ' 
Evidently that pittite knew something. 
Ref., 1882. 

Pin pricks (Hist., 1898). Slight 
attacks assaults. 

Our friendship with France is not to 
be obtained by a policy of pinpricks a 
phrase, by the way, which is not, as 
some suppose, of English origin, but was 
first employed by a responsible French 
journal, Le Matin. D. T.. 9th December 

Ping (Sportsman, to 1854). To 
speak in a quick singing high voice. 
From the sharp ping of the old musket. 

Pink 'un (Sporting Times, 1880). 
Sporting life from the tint of the 
paper, and to distinguish it from the 
Brown 'un, Sportsman. 

Before doing so, I took the advice of 
one John Corlett, who propriets a paper 
called the Pink 'Un.Ref., 31st July 

Pink wine (Military}. Champagne. 

Pinnacles (Peoples'). A corruption 
of ' barnacles ', eye-glasses, spectacles. 

Pint o* mahogany (Coffee-house). 

Piou-piou (Soc.). Tommy Atkins 
translated into French. 

Pip-pip (Streets'). Hue and cry 
after any one, but generally a youth 
in striking bicycle costumery. 
Onomatope of the horn warning 
which sometimes replaces the bell of 
the bike. 


Pipe - opener ( Universe 

spurt in rowing practice to open the 
lungs, and get that kind of pipe 
in working order. 

Pirate (Low London). Emphatic 
person man or woman especially 
the latter, and in music halls, where 
the actresses and singers of great force 
obtain this distinction. 

Pistol-pockets (American - Eng. ). 
Warning not to fool. 

Pitch in (Scotch). Railway collision. 

Pith (Hospital). Sever the spinal 

Pittite (Theatrical). Frequenter of 
the pit. Took the place of groundling 
(q.v.), when seats destroyed the force 
of the Shakespearian term. 

A correspondent wishes me to ask Mr 
Irving if, when he has finished looking 
after the interests of Lyceum pittites, 
he will be kind enough to turn his 
attention to Lyceum dress-circlers. 
Ref., 10th May 1885. 

(See Stall-pots.) 

Pizen (American, circa 1875). 
Corruption of poison, and here describ- 
ing alcohol generally in its whiskey 
form. (See Death promoter.) 

Plain as a pipe-stem (Peoples', 17 
cent. on). Utterly plain nothing 
could be plainer than the stem of the 
white clay pipe from the cutty of the 
time of Charles II., to the long church- 
warden tempo George III. 

Plank the knife in (L. Class, Hist.). 
Stab deeply. 

Planter (Anglo - Indian). Bad- 
tempered horse. 

Plaster (Peoples', 1890 on). A collar 
a huge shirt or applied collar, said 
to be introduced by the late Duke of 

Plasterer's trowel and seringa- 
patam (Rhyming). It means ' fowl 
and ham '. 

Plates o* meat (Low London 
Rhyming}. Feet. (See Barges. ) 

Platform ticket (Railway). Phrase 
uttered by friend who has been to see 
a friend off by train, and is stopped 
as a passenger. 

Play camels (Anglo-Indian). Get 
drunk, or drink too much. Playful 
reference to the drinking habits of the 
camel, who stores his drink rather than 
drinks it. 


Play Consumption 

Poet of the Brush 

Play consumption (American 
becoming English). This is the equal 
of malingering, or shamming. 

Play dirt (American). Deceive. 

Play for paste (Billiard - room). 
For drink probably from ' pasta ' 
(Spanish) a meal, or perhaps ' vino 
di pasta' a light sherry. 

Play low (American-Eny.). Act 

Farewell banquets have lately been 
played a little low down, but the ' send- 
off' supper given to Wilson Barrett at 
the Criterion, on Thursday night, was an 
exception. /</., 15th August 1886. 

Play owings (Sporting phrase). 
Living on credit. 

Play the bear (Lancashire). 

Played out since '49 (W. Ameri- 
can). Ancient untruth. 

If he further informs you that 'this 
has been played out since '49 ', he means 
that since the first colonization of the 
Pacific coast by 'smart men', such a 
thing was never believed in : 1849 being 
the year of the commencement of the 
Calif ornian gold digging. All the Year 
Round, 31st October 1868. 

Playing a big game (Criminal). 
Trying for a daring success. 

Prior to his finally leaving her, he had 
often spoken about 'playing a big game'. 
D. T., 31st March 1897. 

Playing for a sucker (American, 
1880). Attack upon the innocence of 
a youth. 

Please I want the cook - girl 
(London). Said of a youth haunting 
the head of area steps. 

Please mother open the door 
(Street). Expressed admiration of a 
passing girl. Always said in a high 
monotone, except ' door ', which is 
uttered in a falling minor third. 

Please mo-ther o - pen the door. 

Please the pigs (Old Catholic). 
Deo volente God willing. Corruption 
of ' An it please the pyx ' (Pyxis). A 
very interesting form of this phrase 
is to be found in Devonshire 'An 
it please the pixies.' 

Pleinairists (Art, 1886 on). Open- 
air artists the school of pleinair, 

which is utterly antagonistic to 
shadowed or claustral art. 

These pretty illustrations, from the 
designs of the well - known French 
pleinairiste and figure painter, Raphael 
Collin, are delicate and graceful even 
to the verge of effeminacy. D. T., 10th 
February 1897. 

Plimsoll (Nautical). The 'cargo' 
line in merchant shipping. Plimsoll, 
in the House of Commons, forced the 
Bill for the better regulation of 
merchant shipping. 

Plon-plon (Parisian, 1855). Name 
given to the despised Prince Jerome 
Napoleon after he hurried away from 
the Crimean War. 

Pluck (Peoples'). Daring, as distinct 
from slow courage. 

Plucking (Peoples'). Robbing. 

Plug (American). To get into 

Ply (Mid.-class). Tendency, kink, 
inclination, leaning. Probably from 
the French ' pli '. 

Pocket artist (Critical, '90's). 
Small actor or actress. Meant kindly, 
but not liked by the victims. 

To the prettiness and grace of Miss 
Cutler Florodora owed not a little. She 
is quite a 'pocket' artist. D.T., 13th 
November 1899. 

Pod (Commercial). Practical short 
for Post Office Directory. 

Podsnap (Soc., 1865 on). A Sir 
Oracle; whose word is sufficient for 
himself. From Dickens. 

Podsnappery. Wilful determina- 
tion to ignore the objectionable or 
inconvenient, at the same time assum- 
ing airs of superior virtue and noble 

Oppressed nationalities have not been 
accustomed to expect sympathy or assist- 
ance from Austria. But the question is 
a very grave one, and no amount of 
diplomatic Podsnappery can keep it any 
longer in the background. D. N., 8th 
July 1889. 

Poet of the brush (Art, 1890 on). 
Artist. Outcome of the eternal search 
for new phrases. 

Mr T. Hope M'Lachlan is the painter 
of night skies, through which the moon 
sails with an opalescent halo round her 
disc. He is in his truest conceptions a 
poet of the brush. D. T., 4th January 



Portuguese Pumping 

Poke (Thieves'). Purse. This word 
for sack, pouch, satchel, is to be found 
in Shakespeare. 

Poked up (Anglo-American). Em- 
barassed, inconvenienced. 

Poker (American- Eng.). Game of 

Polka, To (Anglo-Amer. ). Another 
of the forms of expressing rapid retreat. 

' Boss, dis woman neber raise dat money 
in dis -world ; ' and with a plaintive 
farewell, she polkaed from the office, and 
once more deep silence prevailed. 
Providence Journal. 

(See Bailey, Skip, Valse.) 

Pomatum pot (Soc., 1885). Small 
specimens of pot-shaped and covered 

Mr Gladstone at twenty-five minutes 
to five was fairly embarked on his speech. 
The familiar throat mixture commonly 
known as the pomatum pot was at his 
side, only on this occasion there were 
two pots instead of one. D. N., 9th May 

'Pon my life (Com. Lond. Rhyming, 
19 cent.). Wife. 

Pongelo (Anglo - Indian Army}. 
Pale ale but relatively any beer. 

Poole (Soe. t 1840 on). Perfect 
clothing from Poole, a leading tailor, 
in Saville Row. (See Dorsay, Lincoln 
& Bennet, Redfern, Nicholls, etc.) 

Poor as a Connaught man (Irish, 
Personal). Poorest even amongst Irish- 

Marrying Mr Cecil Devereux, who is 
as poor they say as a Connaught man. 
Miss M. Edgeworth, Ennui, ch. xi. 

Poor man's goose (Low. Classes). 
Bullock's liver, baked with sage and 
onions and a bit of fat bacon. 

Poot (Hindostanee). Shilling use 
confined to E. London where once 
E. Indian beggars were common. 

Pop goes the weasel (Street, about 
1870). Phrase a great mystery of 
passing English. In the 70's every 
etymologist wrote about this phrase 
and left it where it was. Activity is 
suggested by 'pop', and the little 
weasel is very active. Probably erotic 
origin. Chiefly associated with these 

Up and down the City Road, 

In and out the Eagle, 
That's the way the money goes, 
Pop goes the weasel ! 

Pop on (Sporting). Quick blow 
generally on the face. 

Then big Tim popped it on Selby's 
face, and they had a bit of a spar round 
like. A Chivy Duel, People, 6th January 

Pop visit (Soc., 18 cent.). Short 

I have a dozen friendly pop visits to 
make in less than an hour, and would 
not miss one for the universe. Garrick's 
Abel Drugger. 

Pope (Com. Eng.). Abbreviation of 
pope o' Rome, the rhyming for 
* home '. 

Poppa (Amer. Eng., 1890 on). 

But even those who have never seen 
or read the American play can guess 
how an old Kansas millionaire, vulgar, 
bombastic, dictatorial, and good-hearted, 
the typical Yankee 'poppa', came to 
New York with his 'gals'. D. T., 15th 
February 1897. 

Popping-crease (Railway Officials'). 
Junction station. 

Pppsy wopsy (Low. Lond.). A 
smiling, doll-like, attractive girl. 

Pork pie hat and crinoline (Street, 
1866 - 71). Satirical reference to 
women's appearance in the streets. 
Suppose my (Edipus should lurk at last 
Under a pork-pie hat and crinoline. 
R. Browning, Prince Hohenstiel 
Schwangau, 1871. 

Porky (Low. Class). Name for a 
pork-butcher, and sometimes satirically 
for a Jew. 

Porridge-hole (Scotch). The mouth. 

Porridge-pots (Military). Lines- 
men's satirical mode of naming the 
Scotch guard. (See Cold creams, 
Grinning dears, Gee-gees, Muck. ) 

Port wine don ( University). Scorn- 
ful description of the college profes- 
sorial grandee, who leans to the Man- 
chester school of nutrition. 

Mr Mark Pattison was a very remark- 
able character. . . . He was extremely 
unlike the port wine don of fiction and 
caricature. D. N., 6th March 1885. 

Portable property (Doubtful Soc.). 
Easily stolen or pawned values espe- 
cially plate. 

The testimonial consisted of a silver 
tea-pot, coffee-pot, and chocolate-jug 
all of which would doubtless have been 
considered by my friend Wemmick very 
fine specimens of portable property. 
Ref., 7th June 1885. 

Portuguese pumping (Nautical). 
Not to be learnt. Ask sailors the 




meaning of this phrase, and they may 
laugh a good deal, but they give no 
etymology. It is probably nasty. 

Possle (Low. Class). Earnest advo- 
cate. Corruption of apostle. Used 

Post the blue (Racing). Gain the 

Post haste (18 cent. English sur- 
vival). Rapid from the post-chaise 
being the most rapid mode of travel- 
ling before 1840. (See Motor.) 

Postage stamp (Tavern, 1837-85). 
Facetious name given to hotels and 
taverns signed the 'Queen's Head.' 

Postern gate (American). Widest 
part of the trouser. 

Postman's sister (Mid. -class, 1883). 
Secret informant. 

For any little inaccuracy of detail 
which may have crept into the above 
paragraph I am in no way to blame. I 
tell the tale as 'twas told to me by the 
postman's sister. Ref.. 18th October 
(See Jinks the barber, Boy Jones.) 

Pot (Naval). Executive officer as 
distinct from Greaser and Scratcher 

Pot of all (O. London, 1883). Pot 
in excelsis, pot of exaltation, a perfect 
leader-hero, demigod. 

Pot o' beer (Abstainers'). Bottle of 
ginger beer. 

Pot o' bliss (Public-house, 1876). 
A fine tall woman. 

Pot of O' (Rhyming, 1868). Short 
for ' Pot of 0, my dear,' which is the 
rhyme for beer. 

Potty (Low Class). Tinker. 

Pot-au-feu(P0^., 1885). Domestic 
policy. Due to Clemenceau, who in- 
vented it, and named it in antagonism 
to the Chauvinist principles of Ferry. 

M. Clemenceau 's rapidly - increasing 
influence is the most significant fact in 
the current politics of France. One 
might imagine that the pot-au-feu prin- 
ciple, as he himself has named it, would 
fail, as a cry, among a people like the 
French. D. N., 8th August 1885. 

Pot-house (Club Life). Easy-go 
club. Suggestive of a licensed vic- 
tualler's house. 

Potching (Hotel Waiters'). Taking 
fees against rules. Probably from the 
French to ' pocher' or ' empocher'. 

Good-natured customers may imagine 
that if they have given a fee to the 
waiter who presents the bill, they may 
hand another to the usual man who has 

attended upon them ; but head-waiters 
are alive to the perils of this practice, 
which they call patching, and dismissal 
will be the punishment of the waiter 
who is caught taking vails on the sly. 
Graphic (Restaurant Management), 17th 
March 1883). 

Potentially (Polit., 1883). To all 
intents and purposes. 

This person considered that Russia was 
through her railway system practically, 
or as it is the fashion to say potentially, 
mistress of Herat D. N., 29th April 

Potsheen (Irish). Whiskey. Word 
varies in various districts generally 

Potsheen, plase your honour becaase 
it's the little whiskey that's made in the 
private still or pot ; and sheen, becaase 
it's a fond word for whatsoever we'd 
like, and for what we have little of and 
would make much of. Miss Edgeworth, 
The Absentee, chap. x. 

Potter's field (American). Portion 
of graveyard appropriated to unpaid 

Poultice (Soc., 1880). Fat woman. 

Poultice (Soc., 1882). Very high 
collar, suggestive of a neck poultice, 
ring-like in shape. 

Poultice-mixer (Navy). Sick-bay 
man, or nurse. 

Poultice over the peeper (Peoples'). 
A blow on the eye. 

Pound to an olive (Jewish). This 
is a phrase resulting out of the 
Hebrews' love of olives, and is equi- 
valent to the sporting term, 'It's a 
million pounds to a bit o' dirt.' 

Powdering hair (Tavern, 18 cent.). 
Getting drunk still heard in remote 
places. Euphemism invented by a 
polite landlord to account for lengths 
of time such as dressing and powdering 
hair required. 

Ppw-wow (Anglo-American). Con- 
vention or tentative meeting. From 
North American Indian this word 
meaning in that language Congress. 

Prairie. (See Bit o' prairie.) 

Prairie comedians (U.S.A.). Poor, 
ranting, talentless actor. 

Nothing can be more painful to a city 
summer audience than the wild rantings 
of barn-storming tragedians, or more 
aggravating than the inane drivel of 
prairie comedians. N. Y. Mercury, 1883. 

Prayer-book (Sporting, circa 1870). 
Ruff's Guide to the Turf. 




Predeceased (Legal become satiri- 
cal). Used to ridicule the statement 
of some obvious fact, such as two and 
and two make four. 

Premiere (Press, 1884). Abbrevia- 
tion of premiere representation, an 
ordinary Paris phrase. First used in 
London press for first night in 1884. 

Prescot (Rhyming}. Waistcoat. 

'Spot his blooming prescot.' 

Prester John (Peoples'). The 

He's no more related to our family 
than Prester John. Farquhar, The 

Preterite (Soc., 19 cent.). Ancient 
especially applied to women. 
' Young ? She's quite a preterite 
nevertheless, intense.' (See Has been.) 

Pretty -boy clip (Soc., 1880 on). 
Hair brought flat down over the fore- 
head, and cut in a straight line from 
ear to ear. 

We happen to know that the style 
termed by irreverent mashers the pretty- 
boy clip, the style sometimes called the 
upward drag, and the quiff which 
ranges from a delicate fringe to furze-bush 
proportions, at first amazed and amused 
the neat Japanese damsels. D. N., 26th 
January 1885. 

Pretty fellow (Peoples'). Fine, 
handsome, sometimes satirical. 

Polly thinks him a very pretty man. 
Gay, Beggars' Opera. 

Pretty steep (American). 

Previous. (See Behind yourself. ) 

Price of a pint ( Workmen's). Any 
sum below sixpence. 

Prince's points (Soc. and Club, 
1877). Shilling points at whist. 
Takes its origin from about this date. 
Very keen reasoning on the part of the 
then Prince of Wales, an eager whist- 
player. H.R.H. laid down the theory 
that the best whist-players were not 
necessarily the richest of men, and 
therefore if he played high points he 
might deprive himself of the pleasure 
of meeting the best players. Prince's 
points became very rapidly fashionable. 

Printing House Square (Club, 19 
cent., to 1880). Powerful crushing, 
ex cathedra, from the Times being 
published in that locality. 

Prize faggots (Street). Well 
developed breasts in women. Faggots 
are savoury preparations of minced 
bullocks or sheeps' viscera or plucks, 

mixed with oatmeal, shaped into 
rounded lumps and baked until the 
outside forms a crust. They are sold 
in all the busy lower parts of London 
at a penny. Prize faggots would be 
those larger than usual. 

Problem novel (Literary, 1888 on). 
Title bestowed upon novels with a 
purpose generally as affecting women, 
their aspirations and wrongs. 

It was impossible to resist the question 
whether the ' problem novel ' had had its 
day, and it appears ' not quite, but it is 
considerably less in demand than it was.' 
D. T., 2nd October 1896. 

Process-pusher (1880). Lawyer's 
clerk. Satirical description. 

Process server (Artists', 1886 on). 
Photogravure printers. 

Perhaps many of our artists have not 
yet learned the technique which best 
suits processes, or perhaps our process- 
servers are not yet adepts in their 
business. D. N., 9th December 1890. 

Procesh (American - Eng.). Ab- 
breviation of procession growing 
common in England (1884). 

I was removed on a plank, escorted by 
a torchlight procesh of the local fire 
brigade. -Besant & Rice, Golden Butter- 
fly, vol. i., ch. xviii. 

Pro-donnas (Music Hall, 1880). 
Professional ladies actresses. 

Professional beauty (Fashionable 
slang, 1879-82). This term arose in 
one of the Society papers, and was at 
once accepted by the best people, and 
even by the best of the Press. It 
referred to women in society, some- 
times the very highest, who ' professed ' 
their beauty by permitting any number 
of their photographic portraits to be 
sold in infinite varities of poses. 

Promoted (October 1890). Dead. 
From the public funeral of Mrs Booth, 
wife of General Booth, the originator 
of the Salvation Army. 

Propers (Low. Class). Meaning 
refused but thoroughly comprehended 
by the coster classes. Erotic. 

Proper donas and rorty blokes 
(L. Peoples', 1880). Good and true 
men and women. 

Properties (Theatrical). Theatrical 

Propper bit of frock (Com. Lond. , 
1873). Pretty and clever well-dressed 

Prospect (American Miners'). To 
search for new gold-fields. 



Pulling a Pop 

Prostituted (Patent Law}. Made 
common. Said of a patent, so long on 
the market, waiting to be taken up by 
a capitalist or company, that it is 
common, and known to one and all. 

Pros' Avenue (Theatrical, circa 
1880). The Gaiety Bar (Strand). 
From this bar being the resort of 
gentlemen of ' the profession '. 

Prosser (Theatrical, 1880). Pro 
passed into ' prosser '. 

Protean entertainer (Theatrical). 
Artiste whose exceptional ability con- 
sists in rapid changes of dress. 

Few will deny that Leopold! Fregoli 
is an artist to the tips of his fingers, 
alert, versatile, neat in his business, 
quick as lightning in his changes, and, 
when all is said and done, the best 
' protean ' entertainer that the oldest 
playgoer has ever seen. D. T., 10th 
March 1897. 

Proud nothing (Provincial.). Ob- 

Prudes on the prowl (Soc., 1895 
on). Hypersensitive women who 
haunted music halls to discover mis- 
behaviour either on or off the stage. 

Prudes on the prowl have long ceased 
to minimise the much too meagre fund 
of human enjoyment left in the world, 
and their place has been taken by a 
body who may be described as Guardians 
on the Growl. D. T., 16th December 

Pschutt (Parisian, 1883). Ton, 
fashion, distinction. Reached Ame- 
rica in 1884, and at once became ridi- 
culous as pasha. 

Psha (Peoples'}. Exclamation. No 

Psychological moment (Soc. and 
Literary, 1894 on). Opportunity. 
Nick of time. Became very popular 
in 1896. 

I seized the p. m., and nailed him for 
a tenner. 

It can afford to bide its time, and 
strike a decisive blow when the psycho- 
logical moment has arrived. D. T.. 6th 
March 1896. 

Pub (Tlieatrical}. The public 
sometimes P. B. 

Publican (1883). One of the names 
of General Booth after buying the 
Grecian Theatre and Tavern in the 
City Road (1883). (See Salvation 

Publicaness (Tavern, 1880). The 
wife of a publican. 

Puff -puff (Children's, 19 cent.}. 
Railway engine. (See Gee-gee.) 

Puffing billy (N. Eng.}. Steam- 
engine, given contemptuously to 
Stephenson's first engine, still at Dar- 
lington, and accepted seriously by him. 

Pull (Peoples'}. Anxious moment. 
(See Extra pull. ) 

Pull-down (Soc., 1870, etc.). Name 
given to the moustache which suc- 
ceeded the nap. (q.v.}. 

Pull down the blind (Low London., 
1880 on). This was addressed in the 
first place to spooney young couples 
who in public were making too great 
a display of their love. 

Pull down your basque (American 
amongst women). The ' basque ' is 
the spine of the corset. The recom- 
mendation is a suggestion to behave 

Pull down your vest (American}. 
Be well bred, behave yourself. 

Pull leg (Peoples'}. Satirize, hum- 
bug, mislead, ridicule. 

Young Chinny hinted that they must 
be pulling his leg. Rudyard Kipling, 
The Tomb of his Ancestors. 

Pull oneself over (Com. London}. 
To feed. 

I took one for myself, and essayed to 
pull myself over it. But there, I will 
spare further recital, beyond that, burnt 
outside, the chops were raw inside, and 
like iron all over. Ref., 6th June 1886. 

Pull the string proper (Theatrical]. 
To know how to succeed with the 
public. Suggested by manipulating 

Dressed in the uniform of the London 
Scottish Rifles, he hides from his mother- 
in-law in a shower-bath, and is swamped 
by that awful lady, who knows how and 
when to 'pull the strings'. Ref., 5th 
October 1884. 

Pull-up (American becoming Eng- 
lish, 1 870). Wave of prosperity follow- 
ing disaster ; chiefly used in theatrical 

Pull up my boot (Costermongers 1 }. 
To make money. When a man pre- 
pares for his day's work, he pulls on 
and strings up his boots. (See Make 
up my leg.) 

The Strand people are pulling the 
string with the Comedy of Errors, I am 
told (1883). 

Pull your ear (Peoples', Hist.}. To 
produce memory. 

Pulling a pop (Anglo-American}. 
Firing a pistol, 


Pulling the Right String 

Put you on your Back Seam 

Pulling the right string (Cabinet- 
makers', 1863). Before calipers were 
in use by carpenters and others, small 
measurements were made with string. 
Hence arose the term, * Are you pull- 
ing the right string ?' Some maintain 
it refers to the pulling of puppet-show 

Pumblechook (American - Eng.). 
Human ass. 

Pumpkin - face (American}. A 
round face with no expression in it. 

Puncheous Pilate (Peoples 1 ). Cor- 
ruption of Pontius Pilate, jocosely 
addressed to a person in protest of 
some small asserted authority. 

Punkah one's face (Anglo- Indian}. 
Fan the features. From the Hindo- 

Push-buggy (American heard in 
Liverpool}. Perambulator. 

Pushing (Peoples', 1885). Endea- 
vouring to induce a man to propose 
marriage. Early in 1885, in the suit 
brought by Lord Durham to obtain a 
nullity of marriage (Durham v. Milner, 
otherwise Durham), the Hon. Mrs 
Gerard, the sister of the defendant, 
said in evidence : 

Lord Durham joined my sister at 

What was her bearing towards him ? 
I thought she seemed shy, but I con- 
sidered that was chiefly on account of 
there being only one sitting-room in the 
house. I had a conversation with my 
sister as to the propriety of visiting 
Lambton. She was nervous, and said it 
looked ' rather pushing ' to go. 28th 
February 1885. 

Pusley (American heard in Liver- 
pool). Most mysterious who was 
Pusley ? 

Pa is better, thanks to careful nursing. 
You see, Pa began finding fault with me 
again because I didn't play more jokes 
on him. I told him that people were 
getting an idea that I was mean as 
Pusley, because I played jokes on him, 
and I had quit. Pa said 'never mind 
what people say. I am your father, and 
it pleases me to have you practise on me.' 
Peck's Bad Boy, 1884. 

Pusserspock (Naval). Corruption 
of 'pursers pork' bad, hard salt- 
meat, name being given to it because 
the purser was the purchaser. 

Put a steam on the table (Peoples'). 
To earn enough money to obtain a hot 
Sunday dinner. A figure of speech. 
Refers chiefly to boiled food, the 

phrase having been invented before 
domestic ovens. 

Put down (Low London). To eat. 

Put it on (L. London). Extract 
money by threats, or whining lying, 
as the case may best be met. 

Arter all the brass was nearly all gone, 
Selby says, ' I'll go round to the Mug 
agin, and put it on him (make him pay) 
for another bit.' People. 6th January 

Put on (Street). Old woman mendi- 
cant who puts on a shivering and 
wretched look. 

Put on (Theatrical). To produce. 

Put on a boss (Street). Take a 
look of a malevolent character, so 
that a squint is suggested for squint- 
ing suggests malevolence. 

Put on a cigar (Peoples', 1850 on). 
Assertion of gentility, to the injurious 
exclusion of the pipe. 

Put on the flooence (Peoples', 1850- 
83). Attract, subdue, overcome by 
mental force. Corruption of 'fluence 
from influence. 

Put on the pot (All Classes). Be 

Put oneself outside (American- 
English, 1860). To eat or drink. 

Put out (Low Class, Hist.). Killed 
abbreviation of ' Put out his lights ' 

Brien, on the way to the station re- 
marked to the officer, ' I am not in this, 
but I know they meant to put you out 
to-night.' D. T., 14th May 1901. 

Put the gloves on him (Scotch 
Thieves', 1868). Ameliorate him. 

Put the light out (Criminal and 
Street), Kill. 

In the days of Shakespeare wise men 
called ' stealing ' conveying ; now a male- 
factor does not murder, he pops a man 
off, or he puts his light out. Graphic, 
24th September 1884. 

Put the miller's eye out (Peoples'). 
To use too much water in making grog 
or tea. 

Put the windows in (Street). 
Smashing them. 

Put to bed (Music Hall). To 
conquer, to annihilate, figuratively. 

Put to find (Low Class). Prison. 

Put you on your back seam 
(Tailors). To seat a gentleman 
suddenly, not only on the ground, 
but on the seam which hemispheres 
the 'shoulder' of his trousers. Very 


Put your Hat up there 

Queer Shovers 

Put your hat up there (Peoples 1 ). 
Friendly accusation of courting there 
meaning you are resolved to make 
one of the family. 

Put your clothes together when 
you come (Provincial, Peoples'). Shape 
of inviting for a long visit, stretching 
over time, requiring many changes of 

Puts a 'and in a pocket (Lower 
Classes). Hospitable, given to charity. 

Putting a poor mouth (Irish). To 
complain moaningly. 

The Irishman, putting a poor mouth 
on his position, declared that at his house 
'whin they had a red herring it was 
Christmas Day wid 'urn '. D. N., 1884. 

Putting the value on it (Artists'}. 
Signing a canvas. Satirical mean- 
ing the work has no real value, and 
sells only by reason of the name 

Putty-medal (Peoples', 1856). No 
medal at all. Satirical recommenda- 
tion to reward for mischief or injury. 
A tailor makes a misfit; e.g., 'Give 
him a putty medal.' 

Pyrotechnic pleasantries (Soc., 
1897). Dynamite explosions of a 
feeble and harmless character. Prob- 
ably the work of semi-idiots. Sign 
that destructive anarchy was abating. 

There is, indeed, a growing impression 
that if he is found out, it will at once be 
perceived that he is a monomaniac, who 
has acted out of sheer silliness in indulg- 
ing in these ' pyrotechnic pleasantries '. 
D. T., 17th June 1897. 

Q. B. (Law, '90's). Queen's Bench. 
Now King's Bench. 

Q. S. (Peoples'). Initials of Queer 
Street a figure of speech, even a 
metaphor, whereby a gentleman in 
difficulties relegates them to his 

Quagger (Oxford 'cr'). Queen's 
man student of Queen's College. 
Also called ' gooser '. Quaggers is 
possibly goose, duck, quack quaggers. 

Quandary (Peoples', 17 cent.). 
Difficulty, fix. Probably from the 
half-French court of Charles II., who 

was half French by his mother. Qu' 
en dirai-je ? Skinner gives this deriva- 
tion. Possibly a frequent expression 
of Louise Querouille (the Mother 
Carwell of the streets), who afterwards 
became Louise, Duchess of Portsmouth, 
when she built Portsmouth Place, 
S.W., corner of Lincoln's Inn Fields 
some seven houses, those remaining 
still showing on the pilasters alternate 
roses of England, lilies of France, 
double flanked with torches of Hymen 
that look like rams' horns which 
insignia would probably be more appro- 
priate. Johnson calls ' quandary ' a 
' low word '. (See Curmudgeon. ) 

Quarter pound bird's eye (Low. 
Class Smokers'). Quarter of one ounce 
a pennorth. Asked for quite 
seriously. Probably begun as a joke. 
(See Sherry.) 

Quarter sessions (Legal). Jocose 

Quarter stretch (Thieves'). Three 
months' imprisonment. ' Saucy Sail's 
got a quarter with hard.' (See 

Quartern o' bliss (Low London, 
1882). A taking small woman. 
Diminutive of ' Pot o' bliss ' a fine 

Quartern o' bry (Complicated 
Rhyming, 1868). Short for Bryan o' 
Lynn which rhymes with gin. 

Quartern o' finger (Complicated 
Rhyming], 1868). Short for finger 
and thumb, which rhymes with rum 
the refreshment called for. 

Queenie (Street). Mock endearing 
name called after a fat woman trying 
to walk young. ' Queenie, come back, 
sweet' (Drury Lane Panto., 1884). 
Addressed to Mr H. Campell, one of 
the heaviest men on the stage, and 
then playing 'Eliza', a cook. (See 

Queen's bad bargain (Military}. 
A recruit who turns out a bad soldier 
from Queen's shilling. 

Queen's weather (Soc. t 1837 to end 
of reign). Fine sunshine from the 
singular fact that through her reign 
the Queen almost always had fine 
weather when she appeared in public. 

Queer-bit makers (Police}. Coiners. 

Queer shovers (Police}. Queer is 
bad money shovers any kind of 
industrials ; the whole passers of bad 


Queer the Pitch 


Queer the pitch (Music Hall, 1880). 
Spoil business, impede applause. This 
phrase comes from the patter of street 
performers, whose ' pitch ' for perform- 
ance is 'queered' by a severe police- 
man. In its application in music halls 
it means any act which injures a 
performance the pitch. For instance 
a jeer, a cough, a sneeze will queer 
the pitch, but it is chiefly applied to 
the band, when by a sudden stoppage, 
or error in accompaniment, the singer 
is, or might be, brought to grief. 

At home, if an actor or actress dared 
to act whilst some one else was speaking, 
he or she would be fined or dismissed as 
' queering somebody's pitch ', whereas 
every gesture, every animated movement 
assists the speaker instead of spoiling 
him. D. T., 29th June 1897. 

Queue (Theatrical). Tail-piece, last 
word, upon which another actor has to 
reply. Evidently from French, and 
quite clear from ' queu ', as it is often 
lamentably spelt. 

Quick-change artiste (Theatrical). 
Translation of protean entertainer. 

England has boasted a goodly supply 
of what were once called ' quick-change 
artists ', from the days of the elder 
Charles Mathews until the more decadent 
and mechanical times of W. S. Woodin. 
D. T., 10th March 1897. 

Quick curtain ( Theatrical}. Rapid 
descent of curtain. 

Quid -fishing (Thieves'). Skilled 
thieving quid being a sovereign. 

Quid to a bloater (Street}. Sovereign 
to a herring commonest shape of 
street cock-sure betting. 

Quiff (Anglo-Indian). Idea, fancy, 
movement, suggestion. 

Quiff (Army, 1890 on). The sweep 
of hair over the forehead. 

Quifs (Military, 

19 cent.}. 

Quit off (American). To refrain. 

Quite a dizzy (Mid. -class). Very 
clever man evidently from Disraeli. 

Quite the don (Peoples' Hist.). 
Perfect, magnificent. Probably from 
the name given to the husband of 
Queen Mary Tudor Philip being a 
very magnificent Spaniard. 

R. C. (Catholic, 1880 on). Roman 

R. M. D. (London, Lower Financial). 
Ready money down. 

Racial atavism (Society, 1897). 
Atavism. Came from Paris. It is a 
synonym for heredity. 

We prefer to believe that it is a case 
of what might be scientifically described 
as ' racial atavism '. It is simply that 
'fault of the Dutch' which Canning 
discovered in the course of treaty 
negotiations at an early period of the 
century, and which has now broken out 
in a fresh place among their colonial 
descendants. /). T., 19th February 

Rad (Political). Abbreviation of 
Radical, and bestowed by the Con- 
servatives probably from its suggestive- 
ness of ' rat '. 

Rag ( Oxford, 19 cent. ). Disarrange- 
ment of another man's furniture, but 
with no damage. 

If you return and find your rooms in 
a state of chaos, your friends have been 
indulging in a 'rag'. D. T., 14th 
August 1899. 

Rag-stick (Peoples'). One of the 
names for umbrella, said of a loose and 
unreefed implement. 

Ragged edge (Amer.~Eng., 1884). 

It seems fair to assume that father, 
daughter and her child sailed yesterday 
for Paris, leaving poor Tom on the 
ragged edge. N. Y. Mercury, 10th 
January 1885. 

Raggies (Navy). Steady chums. 
The term, however, seems to be gener- 
rally one of disparagement. 

Rags (Art Jargon, 1880). Old lace 
used for decorative purposes. (See 
Crocks and Timbers. ) 

Rags, Daily (Printers'). London 
lower class daily newspapers. 

A man in the country wants to sell 
his old kicksies, Charley Prescotts and 
coats, and seeing the advertisements in 
the respectable daily rags, he sends them 
all up to the buyer, and gets five bob in 
return, which, he is told, is all they're 

Rail-birds (Racing, 1890 on). 
Watchers of race-horses when exer- 

Railroad Bible 

Real Lady 

cising. From their perching on five- 
barred and other gates while on the 

The ' rail-birds ', as certain people are 
called who closely watch the work of 
horses on the race tracks, would do well 
to keep an eye on Tommy Ryan. N. T, 
Mercury, December 1891. 

Railroad Bible (Amer. Travellers', 
1880). Pack of cards. 

Railways (Railway Servants'). Red 
stockings of course worn by women, 
and resulting out of ' signal red ' 
used throughout the British dominions ; 
e.g., ' She's a pair of smart railways 
ain't she ?' 

Rain-napper (Street). Umbrella 
because it catches the rain. From 
* knap ' to catch quickly. 

Raise (Amer., 1880). Kick- 
vigorous instance of replacing cause 
by effect. 

Rajah, The (Drury Lane, 1850 on). 
Synonym for the Mogul. 

Raked fore and aft (Mariners'). 
Desperately in love. Figure of speech 
from damage done to the whole of 
rigging by a well-directed shelling. 

Raker (Common Classes, 1840-56). 

'Ral (Navy). Strict naval for 

Rampers (London Street). Noisy 
street-rangers, chiefly young men. 

Randy-voo (Army). Tavern which 
is the headquarters of recruiting ser- 
geants. Also synonymous with noise 
and wrangling from Rendez-vous. 

Rank and smell (L. Peoples', 19 
cent.). Common person. 

Rare old water-bruiser (Nautical). 
A tough, hard-working old shore-man. 

Rarified (Soc., 1860 on). Tamed. 
Usually applied to tamed women 
from one Rarey, a horse-tamer. 

Rasher and doorstep (L. Classes). 
Coffee-house phrasing the rasher 
speaks for itself. The doorstep is a 
thick slice of bread and butter. 

Raspberry. (See Bit o' raspberry.) 

Rat (Artisans'). A man who has 
not served his time, and therefore who 
has no indentures. He may, however, 
be a very fine workman ; but he can 
enter no society or union. 

Rat back clip (Peoples', 1856). 
Short hair. 

Rational costume (Society, 1895). 
Trousers for women. Early in the 
fifties these appendages were called 

Bloomers from an American lady of 
that name. A generation passed, when 
they loomed up again as divided skirts 
and Bectives (probably from Lady 
Bective having approved the fashion). 
Next, about 1890, they took over the 
name for young boys' knee-trousers, 
and were styled knickerbockers the 
name of which probably came from 
Washington Irving. Finally, in 1895, 
the female trouser was known as 
rational costume. 

Rattle (Sporting). Good news of 
certain reliance, and in relation to a 
horse entered for a given race. 

Rattle-belly-pop (American Saloon). 
Whiskey and lemonade. Changed, 
when speaking to the more elegant 
sex, to rattle-blank-pop. 

Rattle, With a (Racing) Unex- 
pected rapidity. 

The only approach to a sensation was 
caused by Warrington and Kettleholder, 
the former coming ' with a rattle ' in the 
morning to the price taken about him in 
the excitement caused by his forward 
running in the Cesarewitch. Newsp. 

Raum method (Anglo- Amer., 1890). 
Nepotism, corruption. 

The ' Kaum method ' is simply the 
method by which Mr Commissioner 
Raum is said to determine the fitness of 
candidates for clerkships in the Pension 
Office. It consists in simply 'looking 
them in the face and giving a judgment '. 
He looked his own son, Green B. Raum, 
jun., in the face and formed a judgment 
of him. D. N., 17th July 1890. 

Raven (Public-house). Small bit of 
bread and cheese 2d. From the idea 
that the ravens could only carry small 
quantities to Elisha. 

Readied the rosser (Lower Classes). 
Bribed the police. Readied, past tense 
of to ready, from the 'ready '-money. 
Rosseur French one who harries and 

Ready-money betting (Racing). 
Where the backer at once pays his 
money to the bookmaker, and awaits 
the result. 

Real healthy (American passing 
to England). Well-brained. 

Real Kate (London Local, Clare 
Market, 1882 swept away, 1900). 
Kind matron. In this year a charitable 
queen of the market, one Kate, died. 

Real lady (Music Hall, 1881). A 
lady in excelsis. 


Real Peacer 


Real Peacer (Street Soys'). Final 
shape of Charley Peace, a hero-mur- 

Real raspberry jam (Street, 1883). 
Climax of the use of ' jam ' to describe 
lovely woman. 

Real razor (Westminster School, 
1883). A defiant, quarrelsome, or 
bad-tempered scholar. 

Real Rugby (Public-school). Cruel. 
Derived from the Rugby rules of foot- 
ball, which are more likely to lead to 
accident, it is generally held, than the 
more modified rules of the * Soccer '. 

Real scorcher (Street). Vigorous, 
active personality but without vice. 

Real sweet (Eng. -A mer.) Perfect. 

Reb (American Civil War, 1862-65). 
Abbreviation of ' rebel ', given in scorn 
by the Federals to the Confederates, 
and afterwards adopted by them. 

Reconstituting an epoch (Lit., 
1875). Misrepresenting history. De- 
vised when Mr Wills produced Charles 
I. at Lyceum Theatre. 

M. Sardou lays the scene of his story 
in a historic period, introducing more or 
less authentic historic personages ; or, as 
the phrase goes, reconstituting an epoch. 
D. N.'s Criticism of M. Sardou's Theo- 
dora, 13th July 1885. 

Receipt of fernseed (Proverbial 
superstition). Ability to be present 
invisibly. The statement that if you 
held fernseed you were invisible was 
based upon the supposition that you 
could not do so, because fernseed had 
no existence ferns showing no flowers. 
Rifle green, the dark artillery blue, 
and the dark grey of the service great- 
coat were as bad, or nearly as bad, as 
black ; so that at present the British 
soldier of all arms must be admitted to 
be singularly destitute of the ' receipt of 
fernseed './>. N., March 1883. 

Recently struck it (Amer.-Eng.). 
Nouveau riche man of sudden wealth. 
That is he has recently struck gold. 
Common to U.S.A. growing in Eng- 

Re-dayboo (Music Hall, 1899). Re- 
de"but. Absurdity, of course being a 
first appearance a second time. 

This welcome ' re-dayboo ', as Dan 
Leno would doubtless call it, was made, 
etc. Sun, 29th November 1899. 

Red. (See Bit o' red.) 
Red, All over. (See All over red.) 
Red heart (London Tavern about 
1870. Short for ' redheart rum '. 

Red herring (Soc.). Intended 
deceit. From dragging a red herring, 
at the end of a string, over the track 
of a fox whereby the hounds are 
thrown out. 

The Conservative candidate gravely 
stated that if Home Rule is granted, 
Irishmen will come over in such numbers 
that instead of the labourers' wages 
being 12s. or 13s. a week, they will be 
reduced to 6s. and 7s.; and this red 
herring has been implicitly believed. 
D. N., 17th July 1886. 

Red-handed (Hist.). In the fact 
flagrante delicto. 

George Wallis, 30, was charged on 
remand with stealing some cloth from 
a shop in Whitechapel. The prisoner 
was caught almost redhanded. People, 
27th December 1896. 

Red-hot miracle (Sporting, 1882). 
Startling paradox of the very day. 

Red - hot treat (Lower Peoples'). 
Extremely dangerous person. 

Red peppers (American). Form of 

Red-shirts (Colonial and American 
Mining World). The name given to 
gold and silver miners, all of whom 
wear red flannel shirts. Garibaldi 
while in America adopted the red 
shirt for life, introduced it upon the 
continent of Europe, and made it 
historically famous. 

Red -tie (Univ., Oxford, 1876). 
Synonym for vulgarity. 

Reading up (N. Country, Hist.). 
Tidying, putting the house in order. 
From the habit of rubbing red ochre 
over the cleaned doorsteps, side-posts, 
and hearth - stones. Passing away 

Readings (Thieves'). One of the 
words for watches. Probably from 
the name of a receiver of that name, 
who gave the best prices. 

Redfern (Soc., 1879). Perfectly, 
fitting lady's coat or jacket. From 
the vogue obtained, 1879 on, by 
Redfern, Maddox, W. Regent Street, 
whose lady's tailoring became cele- 
brated over the whole world. 

Redundant (City, 1898). Impudent. 
Arose from the invention of Mr H. 
Bottomly in a speech. 

Personally, and speaking entirely for 
myself, I regard the attitude taken up 
by Dr Alexander as a little redundant, 
having regard to the appointment of the 
committee. D. T., 2nd June 1898. 




Reelings (Rhyme). Feelings. 

Ref. (Political}. Abbreviation of 
Reformer. Invented by the Tories as 
a term of brief contempt. 

Refuges (London Mid. -class}. The 
lamp-islands centred at wide crossings 
as half-way oases in the desert of 
London roads. 

Reg. duck egg! (Sporting}. A 
cypher of no value. From cricket 
when a batter going out on nothing 
at all is marked ' ' playfully 
described as a ' duck egg '. The ' reg ' 
is a common abbreviation of ' regular '. 

Regenerate. (See Degenerate.) 

Regionalism (Political, 1880 on). 
Sub-nationality. Word to describe 
differences of political and social feel- 
ing between differing races or sub- 
races under one government as N. 
and S. of North America, Hungary 
and Austria, Poland and Russia. 
Adopted in England during the Home 
Rule struggle in House of Commons. 

As platinum and silver do not melt at 
the same degree of heat, so, too, diversity 
of disposition, which in Italy is more 
marked than elsewhere, will not allow of 
the Southerners being educated by the 
same method as the Piedmontese. The 
twenty-six years which have elapsed 
since our unification have proved this 
abundantly. Regionalism is still a pro- 
found sore. Signer Fazzari, D. JV., 21st 
April 1886. 

Regular oner (Peoples'). Indi- 
vidual past praying for a scapegrace. 
Sometimes used in satirical praise. 

Reign of Queen Dick (Peoples'}. 
Never a quibble. 

Removal (Political, 1883). Assassi- 
nation. When the exposure of the 
Phoenix Park and other assassinations 
(1882) took place Carey, one of the 
chief informants, in his evidence, 
always referred to a political murder 
as a removal. The word at once took. 

Umbrellas as Weapons. In reading 
the evidence which Town Councillor 
Carey gave as to the Phoenix Park 
murders or ' removals ', as the Irish 
Invincibles call them it is impossible 
to avoid wishing that the heroic victims 
of hired slabbers had been armed. 
Graphic, 24th February 1883. 

Reparty (Soc., 1874). Satirical 
pronunciation of repartee. 

Just as the young Gaiety lady favoured 
by royalty who had a speaking part pre- 
sented to her on that account was not 

good at reparty, so artists are not, as a 
body, good at spelling. Ref., 7th March 

Repentance curl (Soc., 1863). It 
was a solitary, heavy curl made of a 
portion of the back hair, and brought 
over the left shoulder and allowed to 
fall over the left breast. The Princess 
of Wales brought this fashion into 
England (1863), where it held good for 
many years. (See Zarndrer.) 

Repetitious (Literary). Repetitional. 
First applied by the Daily Telegraph. 

It was just as well, for the scheme of 
' Self and Lady ' had a tendency to 
become monotonous and to be repetitious 
in its effects. D. T., 20th September 

Reprint (Printers'). Printed matter 
for putting in type, as opposed to 

Resistance - piece (Press). Chief 
dish, or leading stage - piece. From 
the French piece de resistance. 

The Christmas treat was a great success. 
About sixty sat down to the banquet. 
After this, the resistance-piece, was over, 
etc. Ref., 10th January 1886. 

Responsible (Theatrical). Fee'd 
to lead. He is an actor more of 
common sense than parts, who steadily 
obeys the lead and takes that leader's 
place when not acting. 

Wanted, for a first-class portable, 
Entire Co., including Gent, for Entire 
Lead, Juveniles, Responsibles, etc. 

Resting (Theatrical, 1890 on). 
Obvious but it has another satirical 
meaning that of 'out of an 
engagement '. 

This is the period of the year when the 
actor casts off his stage - mantle, and 
settles down to that easy, indefinite, 
unemployed time which comes under the 
description of 'Resting'. D. T., llth 
August 1898. 

Resurrection pie (Peoples'). All 
sorts pasty. 

Revolveress (Soc, 1885). A woman 
who uses a pistol. 

The details of the career of the charm- 
ing Lucille, the latest revolveress, are 
romantic, though slightly mixed. Ref., 
8th February 1885. 

'Ria (Maria). Passing to 'Aryet 
(Harriet). The typical name of the 
costermonger's young lady a coster 

Rib-shirts (Street, 1880). Fronts, 
or dickeys, worn over a grubby shirt 
to give the air of a fresh one. 


Rice Christians 

Road Combination 

Rice Christians (8oc. t 19 cent.}. 
Natives in rice-bearing countries, who 
accept the missionaries in order to gain 
rice or food. Now used generally of 
people who make of religion a business. 

It is extremely doubtful, in these 
circumstances, whether such converts 
as the missions boast are ever more 
than the dregs of Chinese society, 
coolies without family, home, or pedi- 
gree, ' rice-Christians ' as they are scorn- 
fully named. Ref., llth August 1895. 

Rich as crazes (Irish). Of course 

Rich -one (Upper ffetairice). A 
wealthy wife. Said of the luckless 
spouse of a man who finds home not 
to his liking. 

Richmonds in the field (Peoples'). 
Satirical description of rivals in active 
work no matter of what kind. From 
Shakespeare's Richard III. 
I think there be six Richmonds in the 

There were so many Richmonds in the 
field, so many pretenders to the throne, 
that it was quite impossible to discover 
the real king. I cannot tell you how it 
is going to end. Wars of disputed suc- 
cession are proverbially long and bloody. 
Sir W. Harcourt (June 1885) in House 
of Commons. 

Ricing (Mid.-class). Throwing rice 
over the bride when in her go-away 
carriage. From the East Indies, where 
this custom intimates the hope of 
children rice being a prolific growth. 

Ride square (Racing). Square here 
means ' fair '. 

Riding (Sporting, 19 cent.). Adroit- 
ness, ability from racing, where a 
jockey's riding is a great factor in 
working out success. Applied in 
every possible way. 

Nobody questions the guilt of William 
Palmer. But there was some truth in 
his remark that ' the riding had done it ', 
and if Mrs Bartlett were acquainted with 
the language of the turf, she might pay 
the same compliment to Mr Clarke as 
Palmer paid to Sir Alexander Cockburn. 
D. N., 19th April 1886. 

Rig sale (London, 19 cent.). 
Swindle a false sale. 

Right, About (Peoples'). Modest 
self-depreciation, or depreciation in 
general ; not absolutely right, but 
nearly so, e.g., 'I thrashed him about 
right'. (See To rights.) 

Right gee-gee (Sporting, 1880). 
The horse certain to win. 

Right off (Peoples', 1897). Rejec- 
tion, failure, determination. 

Right racket (Amer. - Eng.). 
Successful public declaration. Chiefly 
refers to entertainments and publishing. 

Right tenpenny on the cranium 
(Peoples'). Good phrasing. A new 
rendering of ' Right nail on the head '. 

Messrs Robertson and Bruce, at 
Toole's Theatre, with 'M.P.', seem to 
have hit the right tenpenny on the 

Rights ( Thieves', 1 860). Perfection. 

Ring dropping (Peoples'}. Equi- 
valent to ' Tell your grandmother to 
suck eggs'. Said in scorn of weak 
attempts at deception. From the stale 
cheat of the operator pretending to 
pick up a ring in the street in front of 
the intended victim. 

Rip (Anglo-American). Creation of 
a word from the initials of Requiescat in 
pace in Catholic cemeteries, the pious 
wish being declared by these initials. 

Ripper (Thieves'). Daring murderer 
of women. Very common noun devised 
from rip, the ripper making his wound 
with a knife in the human body. In 
1888-91 a number (ten) of murders of 
women were perpetrated, presumably 
by the same man, as the ripping treat- 
ment of the victims was common to 
all or almost all the cases. 

Ripping slum (Tavern, 1800-30). 
Capital trick. (See Egan's Life in 

Rise bristles (Anglo. - American). 
Excite to resentment. 

Risky (Soc., '90's). Adulterous 
but not openly so. 

There are plenty of ladies living, as all 
their world knows, lives which are gener- 
ally called ' risky ', who are personally 
most scrupulous in observing all the 
minor conventionalities. John Strange 
Winter, D. T., 5th August 1899. 

Rit (University, passing to Peoples'). 
A ritualistic clergyman. (See Tec, 
Cad, Pot.) 

Ritualistic knee (Doctors', 1840-50). 
When genuflection came in, with the 
success of Dr Pusey's church theories, 
the ritualistic knee really became 
known to medical men. It was caused 
by severe untrained momentary kneel- 
ing when passing the altar, etc. 

Road combination (Anglo - 
American Theatrical). Congregation 
of variety artists moving rapidly from 
town to town. 



Rose, Under the 

Road-starver (Mendicants, 1881). 
Long coat made without pockets, 
especially without a fob for money. 
Road meaning generally the mass of 
beggars the starver is that which 
deprives the road of food. 

Reader (Local London). Sunday 
splendour of the youthful persuasion, 
who displays himself in the Mile End 
Road. Superior to Whitechapel 
streeter (q.v.). 

Roast 'and an* noo (Eating -house 
waiters'). Short for 'roast shoulder 
(of mutton) and new potatoes '. 'And, 
or hand used for shoulder shortens the 
word by more than one -half, while 
' noo ' is quite a reasonable reduction. 

Robbing the barber (Peoples', 19 
cent.). Wearing long hair. 

Robin (Street, 19 cent.). Little boy 
or girl beggar standing about like a 
starving robin. 

' Eobin Dinners ' are due to the kindly 
suggestion of the Rev. Charles Bullock, 
editor of Home Words whose appeals to 
the generosity of his readers to enable 
him to entertain 25,000 or 30,000 London 
children every year. D. T., 7th January 

Robin Goodfellow (Peoples', Hist. ). 
In Shakespeare's time he was a merry 
urchin boy. See A Midsummer Night's 
Dream. Previously he was associated 
with the dusius, and even with Satan 
for in the drawings of the 15th 
century frequently he had horns and 
hoofs added to his peculiar qualifica- 
tions. Descendant of the fauns. Pro- 
bably his pre-Shakespearian title was 
Good-Filler. This term Robin Good- 
fellow would result out of the national 
tendency, as Puritanism spread over 
the land, to veil the erotic by Angli- 
cized euphemism. 

Robustious (Peoples'). Pompous. 
Mr Barnes's unfortunate tendency on 
this occasion was to a rather ' robustious 
periwig-pated ' style that sits ill upon 
the shoulders of so sentimental a person- 
age as Lord Lytton's Claude Melnotte. 
D. N., 29th October 1883. 

Rocked to sleep (1880). One of 
the sentimental American modes of 
describing death, one which began to 
prevail about this time. 

Rockiness (Low. Class, 1887 on). 
Want of foundation, unsteadiness. 
Used chiefly of a drunken man. 

Rogers (Soc., 1830-50). A ghastly 
countenance probably from Rogers 

the banker- poet, who in his age looked 
very old ; or from the pirate flag, the 
Jolly Roger, which showed a skull. 

Rogues' walk (Soc., 1882). The 
' Walk ' in the '90's was the north of 
Piccadilly from the Circus to Bond 

Roman Fall (1865-70). A droop in 
the back produced by throwing the 
shoulders well behind. A fashion of 
the last years of the French Empire, 
borrowed from French military officers, 
who were compelled to accept this 
attitude as the result of tight lacing, 
one of the more ominous excesses of 
French life in those terrible days. The 
fashion being accepted in England, it 
was dubbed the Roman Fall, as a 
counterpoise to the Grecian Bend (q.v.). 
Said to have been invented by Mr F. 
C. Burnaud, in Punch. ' Proud ? Not 
proud ? Spot his Roman fall.' (See 
Two inches beyond upright.) 

Roof scrapers ( Theatrical). Gallery 
boys especially those standing behind 
the highest row of seats and therefore 
nearest the roof. 

Rooster (Parliamentary, I860). 
M.P. who makes himself heard, who is 
not a silent member. 

Whether the returned member be a 
rooster or not time will tell. Bird o' 
Freedom, March 1883. 

Roosters (River Lea Anglers'). 
Followers of the gentle craft, who do 
not move from one spot probably 
because they ground-bated it the night 

Rope-yarn Sunday (Mercantile 
Marine). Thursday. On Sunday the 
food being at its best, Sunday and 
feasting well are synonymous. Thurs- 
day, as the half-way day, is distin- 
guished by duff, or pudding, which 
is always made long, roly-poly shape, 
which suggests rope - yarn hanks 
hence Rope-yarn Sunday. 

Rorty bloke (Costers'). Vigorous, 

Rorty toff (Costers 1 ). Variation of 
rorty bloke an inferior rorty bloke. 
Rortyness (Street). Vitality. 
Before that she reminded me a little 
too much, in her rortyness, of the serio- 
comic lady who sings ' What cheer 
"Ria", Ria's on the job!' Ref., 23rd 
August 1885. 

Rose, Under the. (See Sub rosa.) 

Rose-coloured Spectacles 


Rose-coloured spectacles (Soc.). 
Optimism. Free translation oicouleur 
de rose. 

In these days, when the mind's eye is 
less apt to observe things through rose- 
coloursd spectacles, a good many of the 
grand old crusted adages have broken 
down badly. G. R. Sims, Ref., 1st 
February 1885. 

Roses and raptures (Lit, 1830 on). 
Satire of the Book of Beauty style of 
literature, the precursor of sestheticism. 
Attributed to Dr Maginn. 

The social and religious life of Hellas 
was by no means what a vain people 
supposes. It was no more all roses and 
raptures than our modern existence is 
all beer and skittles. I). N., June 1885. 

Rossacrucians (Press, 1885). 
Followers of O'Donoran Rossa. 
Satirical term invented by Mr G. R. 
Sims. Ref., 8th February 1885. 

Rot-funks (Cricket). Panics. 

Rothschild (Soc.). A rich man. 
(See Vanderbilt.) 

Rotten orange (Lower Peoples', 
1686). Term of contempt. Historical 
from the name given by the Jacobites 
to William III. Prince of Orange. 

Rotten -apple (American, Theatri- 
cal). To condemn an actor by hissing 
him. Figurative expression. 

The last new American verb is ' To 
rotten-apple '. Actors, it seems, in some 
of the minor New York theatres, are not 
infrequently rotten-appled, much in the 
same way as our legislative candidates in 
the old hustings days used to be ' rotten- 
egged '. London Figaro, March 1883. 

Rotten row (Rhyming}. Bow. 

Rotter (Theatrical and Street). 
Failure in any way, especially on the 
stage. Presumably from rot. 

Rotting about (Soc. of a kind). 
Wasting time from place to place. 

Roughs and toughs (Peoples'). 
Beautiful rhyming coalescing, for 
'rough' is English and 'tough' is 
the New York equivalent observation. 

All the way down, whenever there was 
a stop, they were insulted by Boers, and 
we in the truck had to mix with sixty 
or more of the ' roughs ' and ' toughs ' of 
a score of nations. Sun, 7th November 

Round (Sail-room). A valse, galop, 
or polka. (See Square.) 

Round the corner (Street). Drink. 
Figurative expression not as the high 


The barmaid replied : 'It's good enough 
for you ; go into the other bar, where the 
men are. ' Mrs Montgomery retorted : 
' You're wrong all round the corner,' 
meaning that she had had something to 
drink. D. T., 16th July 1898. 

Rovers (American). People of 
Colorado given in consequence of 
their prospecting habits. 

Row in (Peoples'). Unfair con- 
spiracy. From Thames life through 
centuries. A man 'rowed in' in a 
river robbery, or even a murder. 

It's very likely the sellers and the 
general public concerned in auction sales 
are anything but satisfied with the results 
of sales by auction where a ' knock-out ' 
is arranged, and especially where the 
auctioneer 'rows in' with the crew. 
D. T., 12th February 1897. 

Row-de-dow (Irish, 19 cent.). Riot 
term applied scornfully by Irish to 
a disturbance. From a chief portion 
of the chorus of ' British Grenadiers'. 

With regard to the Prince and 
Princess's visit to Ireland, the 'row-de- 
dow' that is, we believe, the Hibernian 
term for it which took place, etc. 
Ref., 9th March 1885. 

Rubbing it in well (Police). Giving 
fatal evidence. 

Rubbish (Military Anglo-Indian, 
early 19 cent.). Luggage of any 
kind, and especially furniture, which 
was frequently very shabby. (See 

Ruck down (West Provincial, 19 
cent.). To courtesy very low. 

Ruckerky (Soc., 90's). Grotesque 
pronunciation of recherche'. 

It was a security which a member of 
the Asylums Board had described, in a 
glowing adjective, as 'ruckerky'. 
D. T., 4th April 1898. 

Rudders (Oxford). Rudiments of 
Faith and Religion (now abolished) 
irreverent statement in ' er '. 

Ruffer (Peoples'). One who is rough. 

Rugger (Oxford Football, 1880 on). 
Rugby rules. (See Soccer.) 

Rule the roast (Old Eng.). To 
govern noisily. 

Rule was granted (Lawyers'}. 
Another chance. 

Rum-bottle (Navy, 1860). Sailor 
from the liquor affected by mariners. 

Rumbo (Middle-class, 1860). This 
is an exclamation of congratulation, 
probably obtained from the gipsies, 
as amongst them ' Rumbo ' is a 
common cry upon the meeting of 


Sad, and Bad, and Mad 

two men. Women never interchange 
this cry. It is a corruption of 
the Spanish carambo, the accent of 
which is upon the second, the word 
becoming almost k'rambo. 

Rumourmongers (City, 1897). 
New coinage. Hitherto there have 
been iron, fish and cheesemongers. 
Newsmonger was the first modern 
discovery in this direction, and now 
the debased ' rumour ' follows suit. 

It would almost seem as if the once 
ingenious class of rumour mongers were 
losing its power of skilful imagination, 
and the method of the new school is to 
cover one blunder by a still greater 
blunder. D. T., 19th November 1897. 

Run amok (Asia). Amok means 
homicidal mania accompanied by 
running blindly forward. Passing 
from India to England it has got 
Anglicized into ' Running a muck ', 
probably from the fleeting destroyer 
showing himself in a muck sweat. 
This corrupted phrase is now applied 
in England in a score of ways all of 
which imply a good deal of action. 
In Malacca, Siani, Java and adjacent 
places the mental state which leads to 
amok is equally well known and 
dreaded. The perpetrator shows signs 
of moroseness for days, more or less 
in number, before he is seized with 
amok, when he dashes up, with a 
drawn knife, and lays about him 
amidst the scudding people until he 
himself is killed by a general onslaught. 
In the more civilised spots where this 
custom prevails, especially in Batavia, 
precautions are taken which prevent 
the destruction either of the victim 
to 'amok', or those near him when 
the murderous moment arrives. Every 
policeman is armed with a catch-fork. 
Directly a patient starts upon amok, 
supposing the police are not ready for 
him, as, being warned of the symptoms, 
they generally are, the spearing of 
this strange fish commences. Over- 
taken, the springed points of the 
amok-spear are pushed round the neck, 
which passed, the incurved articula- 
tions once more expand, and the victim 
is held at spear's length, when all the 
damage he can do is to himself. Thus 
hooked he is 'run in', where, if he 
has not wounded himself fatally, he is 
treated for * D.T.'s 'the origin of most 
amok when he either recovers or is 
passed into an asylum. 

Run home on the ear (American). 
Entirely defeated. 

Run through (Parliamentary). 
Rapid in action especially official. 

Runner (Thieves'). Technical name 
for dog-stealer. 

Rushing business (Thieves' and 
Public-house). Robbery by adroitness, 
cheating under the semblance of fair 

They go out on the rushing business, 
and a very profitable emag they find it. 
Hag., 1882. 

Rushlight (Peoples'). Very thin 
man. Derived from use of candles 
of which the forgotten rushlight was 
the slimmist. 

Rusted in (American). Settled 
down. Suggested by rust fixing in a 
nail or screw. 

Ruttat-pusher (1882). Keeper of a 
potato car. 

S. A. These are the initials and 
sign of the Salvation Army. 

S. D. (Theatrical). Stage door. 

S. M. (Theatrical). Stage manager. 

S. P. (Press, 1870 on). Letters 
equalling special correspondent, being 
first two letters of first word. 

S. S. (Street, 1883). These initials 
originally stood for sinner saved. The 
letters were revived, with a similar 
meaning by some of General Booth's 
enthusiasts (1882) in the Salvation 

Sacred lamp (Theatrical, 1883). 
Ballet-girl burlesque. The origin of 
this term is quite historical. Mr John 
Hollingshead, lessee for many years 
of the Gaiety Theatre, Strand, London, 
issued one of a series of remarkable 
lessee's ukases, in which he cynically 
referred to the burlesques he had pro- 
duced as keeping alight the sacred 
lamp of burlesque. 

Sad, and bad, and mad (Soe., 1880). 
Fashionable Jeremiah-mongering. 

Philosophers and sages, and people 
who speak of the ' fatal gift of beauty' 
would say, with Mr Browning's half- 
repentant lover, this was all very ' sad, 
and bad, and mad '. D. N.. 10th March 

Sad Vulgar 

Sal Hatch 

Sad vulgar (Soc., 18 cent, and earlier 
19 cent.}. Synonym for cad, snob. 

He is a 'sad vulgar', as the ladies' 
expression was in the days of George III. ; 
and there is something very droll about 
the poetical retribution he meets with. 
St James' Gazette, 17th August 1883. 

Saddling - paddock (Australian). 
Place of amusement or rather place of 

Saffron Walden God - help - ye 
(Provincial). Beggars, outcasts, 
mendicants of that place. (See 
Gordelpus. ) 

The triumph of scornful nomenclature 
was reached in the case of Saffron 
Walden, nicknamed 'Saffron Walden 
God - help - ye ', from the presumed 
wretchedness of its inhabitants. . . . 
In the heart of the New Forest occurs 
a similar instance of nomenclature to 
that of Saffron Walden, with the 
difference only that it is accepted by the 
inhabitants instead of being thrust upon 
them by the surrounding population. 
The village of Burley is always spoken of 
by the native as ' Burley God-help-us '. 
D. N., August 1884. 

Sag (Amer.-Eng.). Sinking, cessa- 
tion, non-success from mining, where 
a sinking of the bed, or roof, of a mine, 
has this term applied. 

Still more when Mr Matthew Arnold 
or Mr Irving appears in the States, then 
there is ' no sag in the popular boom ', 
which, being interpreted, means that 
there is no lull in the general excitement. 
D. N. t 5th October 1886. 

Sage hens (American). People of 
Nevada probably from the multi- 
plicity of prairie fowl which frequent 
the sage bushes which cover the prairie 
in that state. 

Sail in (American - En g.). 
Equivalent to 'Go it', and taking its 
place in England. 

Sailor's champagne (Peoples'). 
Champagne on the do ut des principle 
an easy-go sailor shoots all his pay 
in a day, and then reminds you all the 
rest of his run on shore that you only 
exhibit beer and mere board and 

St Alban's clean shave (Church). 
Appearance of the ritualistic or high 
church clergymen's face. 

St Alban's doves (Electioneering, 
1869). Two active political canvassers, 
so called from attending a certain 
church of which they were shining 

St Giles' carpet (Seven Dials old). 
A sprinkling of sand. 

St John's Wood donas (Public- 
house, 1882). Immoral women of the 
better class, living at St John's Wood 

St Lubbock (Lower London, 1880 
on). An orgy, a drunken riot. From 
the August Bank Holiday, the first 
Monday in the month, chiefly invented, 
in the parliamentary sense, by Sir 
John Lubbock. The tendency on the 
part of the more violent holiday- 
makers produced the satirical ' St ', and 
its accompanying meaning. 

St Lubbock, Feasts of (Public, 
1 8 7 1 on) . Bank holidays as established 
by law Easter Monday, Whit 
Monday, first Monday in August and 
Boxing Day, 26th December. From 
Sir John Lubbock's Act, 1871, by 
which the first, second, and fourth 
were made legal, and the third created. 

The feasts of St Lubbock i.e., Bank 
Holidays established in consequence of 
the exertions of Sir John Lubbock, M.P. 
(afterwards Lord Avebury), in 1871, are 
regarded with the highest favour. Their 
influences upon the commercial world 
and whole community have been remark- 
able. D. T., July 1899. 

St Peter's the beast (Oxford, 1890 
on). St Peter's in the East. 

All who have dwelt near St Peter's-in- 
the-East and been tortured by its fear- 
some bell will understand why, despite 
its pleasant situation and curious crypt, 
it should be referred to as ' St Peter's the 
Beast'. D. T., 14th August 1899. 

St Stephen's hell (Parliamentary). 
No. 15 Committee Room, House of 
Commons. When the Parnellite 'split' 
took place, the Irish Nationalist 
members 'discussed' in this chamber 
for many days the noise resulting in 
the bestowal by the lower officials of 
this title upon the room in question. 

Sal hatch (Peoples'). Umbrella- 
origin quite obscure, but probably 

Sal hatch (Prob. Hist., 17 cent.). 
Dirty weneh. Probably one of the 
court of Charles II. French phrases 
of a certain fashion. Of course a cor- 
ruptionfrom 'Sale Ange', which is 
itself a French corruption of Sallanches, 
a town in Savoy whence spread over 
France, as from all other Swiss towns, 
women servants. The French have 
historically always considered the 


Sal Stoppers 

Sandwich Board 

Swiss less cleanly than themselves; 
they still use the phrase to worry 
servant girls from Savoy, now, of 
course, part of France. Sal Hatch is 
applied in exactly the same way to 
dirty - looking young English girls. 
This word, however, may come from 
the Italian Salaccia a dirty, ugly, 
big woman. If so, it reaches us from 
the Hatton Garden division of London. 

Sal slappers (Costers'). Modifica- 
tion of a vigorous name for a common 

Salad march (Ballet, 19 cent.). 
March of ballet girls in green, white, 
and pale amber from the usual colours 
of salads. 

A ' salad ' march, with the coryph&s 
dressed as lettuces and spring cabbages, 
is an admirably harmonious arrange- 
ment./). T., 7th May 1899. 

Sally B. (American, 1880 on). A 
very thin, tall woman in evening dress. 
This phrase, which fleetingly passed 
through London, is quite historical. 
Derived from Madame Bernhardt, 
who, though at the end of the Victorian 
era, she became a well-developed come- 
dian, was for many years the most abso- 
lutely thin woman on the stage. 

Sally Lunn (Peoples'). Bun, in- 
vented in the 18th century by a 
Chelsea industrial of that name. (See 

Saloon (Amer. ~Eng.). Tavern- 
applied to a brilliant establishment. 

Salt, Barrel of. (See Barrel.) 

Salt-cellars (Peoples'). The cavi- 
ties behind the feminine collar-bones. 

Salt-horse squires (Naval, lucent.). 
Warrant, as distinct from commis- 
sioned, officers. Name used to suggest 
the parvenu grandeurs of the warrant 
officer, who was dined upon salt beef 
the salt horse in question. 

Salt-pen (Lit., 1860 on). Nautical. 
Figurative description of the pen of a 
writer of sea-stories. 

Salt junk (Music Hall, 1897). Last 
rhyming cry for drunk passing into 
' salt '. 

Salt's pricker (Naval). Thick roll 
of compressed Cavendish tobacco. Used 
sometimes very figuratively. 

Salvation Army (Street, 1882). 

Salvation Army of politics (Polit., 
1885). Radicals. Invented by Mr 
Goschen in this year. 


For us Radicals, the Salvation Army 
of politics, as Mr Goschen denominated 
us, the keen desire for social improve- 
ment, the great and healthy efforts for 
actual and immediate reforms, the en- 
thusiasm of social progress ; but for him 
the better part, for the educated and 
thinking men the nobler mission of the 
candid friend, the duty of criticising the 
work in which his culture and refinement 
prevent him from taking any part. Mr 
J. Chamberlain's Speech : Dinner of the 
Eighty Club, 28th April 1885. 

Salvation jugginses (Com. London, 
1882). The early aversion exhibited 
towards the more violent members of 
the Salvation Army led to the addition 
of the word juggins. 

Salvation rotters (1883). Final 
term of scorn levelled at the early 

Salvation - soul - sneakers (1883). 
This was one of the last terms applied, 
before General Booth (February) yielded 
to circumstances and with almost papal 
authority forebade outdoor processions 
in London. (See Skeleton Army.) 

Sam (Peoples'). Abbreviation of 
Stand Sam pay for a drink. 

Sam Hill (American). Some hell, 
replacing the name of a notoriously 
wild-tongued man. 

Same o. b. (Peoples', 1880). Abbre- 
viation of * old bob ' this standing 
for shilling. Phrase has reference to 
the universal shilling entrance-fee to 
most ordinary places of information or 

Same old 3 and 4 ( Workmen's). 
3 shillings and 4 pence which, multi- 
plied by six working days, gives 1 per 

Sampan (Navy). Historical name, 
from Nelson's time, of the Sans 

Sandford and Merton (Press). 
Didacticism from the lofty tone of 
the speakers in this once celebrated 
boys' book. 

It would, we think, have been more 
attractive but for an occasional tendency 
to fall into the Saiiftford and Mertoun 
or directly didactic vein, as when we are 
reminded that ' an undue concession to 
narrow prejudice or cowardly convention 
should be unsparingly denounced, be- 
cause it is insidiously and subtly destruc- 
tive'. D. N., 2nd February 1885. 

Sandwich board (Street, 19 cent.). 
Police station stretcher, used chiefly 
for conveying drunken persons. 

Sandwich Men 


Sandwich men (Street, 1860 on). 
The doleful, broken-down men em- 
ployed at one shilling per day to carry 
pairs of advertisement boards, tabard- 
fashion, one on the unambitious chest, 
t\e other on the broken back. 

Sangster (London, 1850). Um- 
brella. A Mr Sangster, of Fleet Street, 
invented a light and elegant steel- 
ribbed umbrella, which he called 
Sangster's patent umbrella. 

Sanguinary muddle (Polit., 1884). 
Policy of Europe which seemed always 
destructive. Invented by Lord Derby. 

Lord I)erby used a very strong expres- 
sion the other day about the diplomacy 
of Europe. He called it a ' sanguinary 
muddle ', and recommended that Eng- 
land should keep out of it. D. N., 17th 
October 1885. 

Sans-culottes (Peoples', 1793-1830). 
San skillets such was the translation 
by the people for the people in the 
loyal later times of George III. This 
phrase came to be immediately applied 
to the most wretchedly -clad men in 
the revolutionary streets of Paris. 

Sapheadism (Agricultural, Amer.). 
When the sap is rising, the bark is 
soft hence this term for weak-headed- 

Sapper (Music Hall, 2nd French 
Empire). Gay, irresistible dog. From 
* Eien est sacre pour un sssapeur ! ' 
the chorus of a song by Theresa, a 
great Paris music hall cantatrice, 
1860-70. She came to London about 

Mr Clement -Smith, the well-known 
theatrical bill printer, being captured 
the other day by another of those even- 
ing paper sappers to whom nothing is 
sacred, was irreverently christened by 
his tormentor 'the Bill-poster King.' 
Ref., 3rd February 1899. 

Sappy (Low. London). Weak- 
headed. Origin obscure. 

Saratoga (American - English). 
Anything large, huge. Saratoga is an 
example of new word-growth. Sara- 
toga Springs being the most fashion- 
able inland station for New Yorkers, 
necessarily the largest amount of per- 
sonal luggage accompanied the fashion- 
able frequenters, while size was re- 
quired that ladies' costumes might not 
be crushed in travelling. But the 
most remarkable development of Saro- 
toga was that of being used to describe 
anything of unusual size. 

Sarcasm (Soc., 19 cent.). Satirical 
assumption of the meaning of a 
stupidly-said thing. 

Sardine-box (Peoples'). A jocular 
name given to the prison- van, in which 
the prisoners were stowed away or 
packed,*as it were. (See V.R., Black 
Maria, Virtue Rewarded, Vagabonds 
Removed, etc.) 

Sarey Gamp (London, '40's). Huge 
market umbrella. Now not seen out 
of museums, and mostly bought up for 
their mines of valuable whalebone. 

Sargentlemanly (Peoples', 19 cent.). 
Satirical perversion of 'so gentle- 
manly', and importing that the person 
has taken rank above a mere private. 

Sarkaster (Press, 1880). Invented 
word; synonym for satirist derived 
from sarcastic. 

Sarken News (London, 1860-83). 
The common term for Clerkenwell 
News a journal which was begun in 
a small way in Clerkenwell, and be- 
came one of the chief metropolitan 
mediums for advertising. 

Sashay (Anglo-American). Slide, 
skip, dance, skirt, walkingly haunt, 
etc. From term used by French and 
other dancing - masters chasser to 
glissade from one side to the other. 
Sat(lTniver., 1860). Satisfaction. 
Satellite (Public - school). Modern 
synonym for fag' a boy who revolves 
round a bigger one, whom he has set 
up as his model and hero. Sometimes 

Saturday middles (Soc., 1875). 
The article on the left of the middle 
of the Saturday Review where it 
opened in the centre. 

Saturday pie (Peoples'). Pasty, 
within which is interred all the dis- 
jecta membra of the week. 

Sauce-box (Peoples'). The mouth. 
Sausanmash ( Jww. Clerks'). Lowest 
common denomination of ' one sausage 
and mashed potatoes '. 

Saveloy Square (E. London). Duke 
Place, Aldgate so named satirically 
on the lucus a non lucendo principle 
because, being wholly inhabited by 
Jews, no ordinary sausages are ever 
found there. 

Say (American colloquial). Com- 
monest form of 'listen'. Probably 
descended from the Plymouth Brethren 
who crossed to the States. ' Say ', 
equivalent to ' do ', is a common form 


Say Howdy for Me 


of expression in Devonshire to this 

Say howdy for me (Amer.-Eng.)' 
Remember me to, etc. (See Howdy). 
Passing rapidly into English every-day 

Say soldi (Italian through organ- 
grinders') Six shillings. 

'Sblood (Oath. Exclamatory). His 
blood. Will be found in Tom Jones, 
bk. xviii. ch. 10 ; where also will be 
found Od zookers God's hooks, or 
hooker, which equals 'nails' the 
three used in the Crucifixion. 

'S'bodlikins (Cath. Exclamatory). 
His bodily-kins ! Meaning obscure. 
Some say it refers to the earthly kin of 
Jesus His brothers and sisters on 
Joseph's side. Others, extremists say 
the word is His body leakings mean- 
ing the blood flowing from the side. 

Scaffold-pole (Common London). 
Is the fried potato chip sold with fried 

Scaling down (American-English). 
Repudiation of debt. 

Scalp ( American- Eng. , 19 cent). 

After securing all the amateur scalps 
in San Francisco, Corbett became a 
professional pugilist. D. T., 18th March 

Scalper (American - English). A 
savage horse, suggested by the Indian 
habit of achieving the scalp, and the 
tendency of the scalper to snap at the 
head of his groom. Now extended to 
describe briefly any human being of 
merciless tendencies, especially in his 
financial dealings. 

Scalps (Soc., 1896). Jewel chain 
charms worn upon bangles, and given 
by young men to young girls. 

Scandal village (Sussex). London 
Super Mare or Brighton, where the 
virtuous natives assume their London 
patrons to be all libellous. 

Scare (American - English, 1880). 
Grow frightened. 

Scare - crown (American, Boys'). 
Intensification of scare - crow, and 
adapted to a woolless old man. (See 
Bald head, Bottle nose. ) 

Scent of the hay (Theatrical). 
Sneer at false pastoral writing for the 
stage. From the protest of Mr Pinero 
upon being accused, in The Squire (a 
pastoral comedy), of plagiarising a 

book of Mr Hardy's. Pinero urged 
that his chief desire had been to waft 
a scent of the hay across the footlights. 
M. Mayer's company have been 
engaged in wafting the scent of the hay 
across the footlights. It is French hay, 
but good of the sort. Ref., 21st 
February 1886. 

Schlemozzle (E. London, Jews'). 
Riot, quarrel, noise of any kind. 
Colloquial Hebrew. 

I had espied W. A. P., sitting not far 
off, and partly with a desire to prevent 
bloodshed, partly in the hope of promot- 
ing a schlemozzle, I notified Jones 
accordingly. Ref., 1st December 1889. 

School Board 'ull be after you 

(London Streets, 1881). Practically 
meaning ' Look out or the police 
will have you.' 

School-marm (Soc. t 1886). School- 
mistress. (From U.S.A.) 

Celibacy of the clergy is a familiar 
doctrine, both for banning and for bless- 
ing. But the celibacy of the 'school 
marm' is a heresy which as yet only 
exists in the pious dream of school 
managers and school boards, by whom 
marriage is regarded as an even more 
ruthless enemy than death. Pall Mall 
Gazette, 12th January 1888. 

Schoolmaster is abroad (Peoples'). 
In other times the country may have 
heard with dismay that 'the soldier 
was abroad '. It will not be so now. 
Let the soldier be abroad if he will ; 
he can do nothing in this age. There 
is another personage abroad a person- 
age less imposing in the eyes of some, 
perhaps, insignificant. The school- 
master is abroad ; and I trust to him, 
armed with his primer, against the 
soldier in full military array. 

Schooners, frigates, and full- 
masters (Naval). Degrees of com- 
parison as to the capabilities of 
apprentices in the Navy the least 
accomplished being the schooner, the 
frigate the youth who is handy at his 
business, and the full - master the 
achieved youngster who can learn no 
more of the art of navigation under- 

Scoop (Military, 1880). One of the 
modes of wearing the hair when the 
mode of bringing it down flat upon 
the forehead came in. (See Curtain.) 
Scooped (Amer. - Eng., 1880). 
Swindled money being scooped out 
of the pocket. 




Score (Peoples'}. Reckoning 
figuratively used. 'I've got a score 
against you, and some day you'll pay ' 
from the custom in old times of 
drawing lines upon a board with a bit 
of chalk the number of marks in a 
line being a score. (See Chalking 

Scorpions (Theatrical). Babies 
whose observations do not help the 

Scorpions (Army, Hist.}. Scornful 
reference by officers to the civil in- 
habitants of Gibraltar. Originally 
referred to the natural children of 
English soldiers by Spanish mothers. 
Sometimes 'Rock scorpions', the 
* Rock ' being Gibraltar. 

A military correspondent writes from 
Gibraltar complaining of want of houses 
for officers attached to the garrison. 
The ' Scorpions ', as the inhabitants are 
facetiously called, have all the best 
houses in their hands. D. T. t 5th 
November 1897. 

Scotch (Rhyming). Abbreviation 
of Scotch-pegs, the catch-rhyme for 

Scrag-hole (Theatrical). Gallery. 
Probably suggested by the stretching 
of the scrag or neck, and the re- 
semblance of the gallery to a dark hole. 

Scrape along (Poor Peoples'}. To 
live somehow from day to day, to 
scrape off a living. 

Scraper (Soc., 1880). Short one 
to two-inch whisker, slightly curved, 
and therefore differing from the square 

Scratch down (Street). The public 
scolding of a man by a woman. 

Scratch me (L. Lond., 19 cent.}. 
Lucifer match. 

Scratch - rash (Artisans'}. Face 
scratched presumably by wife. 

Scratchers (Lower Class). Lucifer 
matches. Splendid example of peoples' 
onomatope always going on. The 
lower classes never took to the absurdly 
pompous word lucifer ; and even the 
middles added matches, from the old 
sulphur matches, probably a corrup- 
tion of ' meche '. 

Scratchers (Naval). Pay-masters 
and their subordinates. Comes down 
from the noisy times of quill pens. 

Scratching poll (Peoples'). Pole for 
cattle to rub their sides against. A 
reference to a skin disease erroneously 


said to be prevalent amongst Scotch- 

An exhibition of Scotchmen's knees 
took place at the Castle, and was 
attended with great success. Mr Sandy 
M'Alister MacDonoughloch took the first 
prize and a cold in the nose. The prize 
consists of a scratching poll. 

Screamer (Press). Alarmist article 
or leader. 
Screaming gin and ignorance 

(Sporting Reporters, 1868). Bad news- 
paper writing. 

Screed (American - English). A 
pelt, or muck running. Widely applied. 

Side by side with these garrulous 
'screeds' about what took place six or 
seven weeks ago comes news of what is 
doing to-day. Mef., 9th March 1885. 

Screw your nut (L. London). 
Dodge a blow aimed at the head. 

When we gets there, the Mug says, 
' How did he get that ? ' looking at 
Selby's eye, and I says, ' He got it 
because he could not screw his nut.' 
Peoples', 6th January 1895. 

Screwed up (Oxford and Cambridge 
Universities). To be vanquished. 
The term takes its rise from the ancient 
habit of screwing up an offender's door, 
generally a don's. The action was 
only complete by breaking off the 
heads of the very thin screws. 

Screwed up (Artisans'). Without 
money can't move. More emphati- 
callyscrewed up in a corner. (See 
Hung up, Stuck up. ) 

Scribe (Press y 1870 on). A poor 

Scribley (Provincial). Screw-belly, 
i.e., sourish small beer. 

Script (Authors', 1897). Short for 
manuscript especially in the theatre. 

Scripturience (Literary, 1900). 
Rage for writing ; cacoethes scribendi. 
Presumably invented by Mr William 
Archer, who wrote 

It is true that Mr Stedman's net is one 
of very small meshes, which hauls in the 
minnows as well as the Tritons ; but what 
an amazing harvest, even of mediocrity ! 
There is a serious danger, it seems to me, 
in this universal scripturience. M. 
Leader, 27th October 1900. 

Scrummage (Youths', 1860). 
Struggle. Derived from foot-ball term. 

Scrunging (Country Boys'). Steal- 
ing unripe apples and pears probably 
from the noise made in masticating. 

Scug or Smug 

See the Breeze 

Scug, or Smug (Schools'). A new 
that is new boy. 

In regard to the general charge, it is well 
known that everywhere bullying has been 
reduced to the smallest proportion. In 
our fathers' time every new boy, ' scug ', 
or c smug ', or whatever the generic name 
may have boen, was kicked and knocked 
about as a matter of course for the first 
part of his curriculum. D. T., 12th June 

Sculps (American). Convenient 
abbreviations of pieces of sculpture. 

Perhaps no statue, except the un- 
fortunates in Trafalgar Square, and the 
melancholy meeting of ' sculps ' in 
Parliament Square, was more sharply 
criticised at the time of its erection, 
or more heartily laughed at afterwards 
than the gigantic equestrian effigy of the 
late Duke of Wellington.!). N., 18th 
January 1883. 

Sculpt (American Artists'). Verb 
from sculptor as writer to write ; 
dancer to dance ; singer to sing ; 
sculptor to sculpt. 

Sculptor's ghost (Art). Sculptor 
whose name is not associated with the 
marble upon which he works. May 
be the actual creator of a work which 
goes in another's name, or may be 
engaged only for his speciality which 
may be hair, or bust, or legs, or hands, 
or drapery. 

Scurry around (American, 1876). 
Be active. 

If you care to lynch him there are 
barrels of tar, and one of us might scurry 
around and get some feathers. Detroit 
Free Press, 1883. 

Scuttler (Manchester, 1870 on). 
Young street rough. 

Might it not be possible to teach 
manners, and to enforce their observ- 
ance, even by means of the rod and the 
cane, at the Board schools? It is in 
those expensive seminaries, we appre- 
hend, that the majority of the juvenile 
'scuttlers' are educated. D. T.. October 

'Sdeath (Poetical). Abbreviation of 
His death meaning the Crucifixion. 
(See 'Sflesh.) 

Se Ta.nnha.user(Frenc7i-Eng., 90's). 
Bore oneself as ' Que je me tannhause'. 

Sea William (Naval early 19 cent). 

' For d'ye see I'm a Sea William, and 
not in no ways under martial law,' said 
the pilot. Marryat, Rattlin the Reefer, 
ch. Iviii. 

Sea-side moths (Mid. -class). Bed 

Seats Bill (Political, 1884). Short 
name suddenly given to the Redistribu- 
tion of Parliamentary seats. Due to 
Mr Gladstone, and instantly accepted 
as a brevity, clear in meaning. 

Further progress was made in the 
settlement of the main outlines of the 
Redistribution scheme, or the Seats Bill 
as it has now become the fashion to call 
it. D. N., 27th November 1884. 
^ Sec. (Commercial, 1860). Abbrevia- 
tion for second. 

Second - hand sun (Poor Folk). 
Nothing much to be proud of sug- 
gested where sunlight is only reflected 
into a given room from a neighbouring 

Second-hand woman (Anglo-Indian 
Army, 1859). Widow. 

Second liker (Tavern, 1884 on). 
Repetition drink another like the 
first. Now applied generally to 

Second picture (Theatrical, 1885). 
Tableau upon the rising of the curtain 
to applause, after it has fallen at the 
end of an act, or a play. 

Secrets of the alcove (Soc., 1890 
on). Most intimate influence of the 
wife over the husband. Outcome of 
analytical fiction. Phrase invented by 
Dumas fils. 

It may be what Dumas called 'the 
secret of the alcove ', but when perfectly 
represented, and with absolute purity, 
on the stage, it is very delightful to 
witness. Here we see a married woman 
using every feminine art and charm to 
tempt her husband back to companion- 
ship and love. D. T., 29th June 1897. 

Sedition - mongers (Polit., 1886). 
Name given to supporters of Home 
Rule. Started by Lord R. Churchill, 
22nd February 1886, at Belfast. 

See (American). To 'bet'. In 
the card game of poker each player 
' sees ' an opponent for so much that 
is, bets so much upon cards which he 
holds, but has not yet shown. It is 
a word which now may often be heard 
in Liverpool commercial cotton circles. 

Stearn Carpenter, the Heracles of the 
Troy Times, would have ' seen ' Achilles, 
' and gone ten dollars more ', to employ 
the language understood by the country- 
men of Mr Charles Dudley Warner. 
D. N., 13th February 1883. 

See the breeze (Cockney, 1877). 
Expression of summer enjoyment at 


Seek, a Clove 

Set the Hudson on Fire 

escaping from London to an open 
common. (See Taste the sun.) 

Seek a clove (American). Take a 

Seen better days (Middle-class). 
Euphemism for saying a person is 

Seen the elephant (American - 
English, 1880 on). Climax witnessed 
the finish. From the universal 
American circus whose chief attrac- 
tion in country places is the elephant. 
Therefore the phrase means proud 
exultation, and is applied to boastful 

Selah (American - English). The 
Hebrew 'vale', 'God be with you'. 
Probably the origin of the London 
artisan phrase, ' So long'. (See.) 

Happy, happy England ! Everybody 
has got plenty of work to do except the 
judges of the Divorce Court. Selah ! 
D. T.. 29th October 1896. 

Senal pervitude (Com. Street Satire). 
Penal servitude. 

Send for Gulliver (Soc., 1887 on). 
Depreciatory comment upon some 
affair not worth discussion. From a 
cascadescent incident in the first part 
of Dr Lemuel Gulliver's travels. 

Send off (Anglo-American Lit.). 
Poem, tale, or article written specially 
to attract attention direct opposite 
to pot-boiler. 

Mr English, then a journalist in active 
harness, promised the firm a 'send-of 
poem. N. Y. Mercury, 1888. 

Sensation scene (Theatrical, 1862). 
Exciting scene of action in a play. 
Title invented by Edward Falconer. 
(See Nailed up drama, Peep o' day 

Searching for effect. 

Mr Chamberlain has resolved to take 
no part in a controversy raised and main- 
tained either for party purposes or in 
pursuit of sensation-mongering. D. N., 
26th February 1886. 

Sensational (American Press, passed 
to Eng. about 1870). Omniscient 
adjective used wherever extraordinary 
might be a possible equivalent. 

Sensational writing (Lit.). Crude, 
frank, banal description, or dialogue, 
intended to excite or dismay. 

Sent (Peoples'). Evasion and con- 
traction of ' sent to prison '. 

At North wich William Flynn was sent 

for seven days for begging. People. 
20th March 1898. 

Sent across the Herring - pond 
(Lower Class). Transported to Botany 

Sent to Coventry (Rural). Cut- 
not spoken to. Origin so obscure as 
not to be within view of any known 

Sent to the skies (L. Mid.-dass). 
Killed evasive accusation of murder. 

Sent up (American-Eng. ). Exposed, 
publicized. From the New York 
Police Court term for imprisonment. 
'Sent up for a month' up to the 
prison that is. 

Sentimental hairpin (Soc., 1880). 
An affected, insignificant girl. 

Sentry go (Military). Mounting 

The Volunteer billets himself now 
preferentially in forts and in barracks, 
enjoys compliance with the stern regula- 
tions enforced in such places, and would 
rather be on 'sentry go' than in a 
public-house carouse. 2J. N., 28th April 

Sepulchre (Middle-class, London). 
Name given to the flat cravats covering 
the shirt front between the coat and 
throat. Satire upon their effect in 
covering over and burying the shirt- 
front, when no longer immaculate. 
Afterwards called chest-plasters. (See 
Doggie, Poultice, Shakespeare-navels.) 

Serio-comic (Music Hall, 1860-82). 
The title given only to lady-singers of 
a lively turn, and in distinction from 
' comics ', who are always men. 

Serve (Thieves Soc.). Euphemism 
for passing through a term of imprison- 

Sessions (Peoples'). Noise, quar- 
relling, disturbance, from the fact that 
at sessions there are conditions not 
peculiar to quietude. 

Set (Street, 1880). Conquered, put 

Set about (Peoples'). To assault. 

The present assault was committed on 
the 20th ult. As frequently happened, 
they ' had words ' about money matters, 
and because she would not accede to his 
demands he 'set about her'. People, 
4th April 1897. 

Set the Hudson on fire (New York, 
1884). Instance of imitation, of ' Set 
the Thames on fire '. 

'Mme. Boniface' is not likely to set 


Seven Dials Ralcer 

Shapes and Shirts 

the Hudson on fire, as it is original in 
neither plot nor music. ff. Y. Mercury, 

Seven Dials raker (Costers' local). 
A girl of the town who never smiles 
out of the Dials. (See Deck.) 

Seven times seven man (Peoples' 
Satirical). Hypocritical religionist. 

Seventy-five cent, word (Ainer.- 
Eng., 1884). Sesquipedalian. 

'Sflesh (Provincial). His flesh a 
very rare Catholic exclamation, de- 
scended from before the Reformation. 
(See 'Sdeath.) 

Shack-per-swaw (Sporting). Every 
man for himself. French chaque 
pour soi. Introduced in England by 
a French gentleman rider. 

Shadder ( Work.-dass, 19 cent.). A 
thin, worn person. 

Shadow of a shade (Pol-it., 1886). 
More than immaculate, when used in 
the negative, as it always was. In- 
vented by Lord R. Churchill. 

But of confiscation, of taking away a 
man's property without paying him for it, 
there is not, as Lord Randolph Churchill 
would say, the shadow of a shade of a 
hint or suggestion or implication or 
inference. I). Jv~., 26th February 1886. 

Shadow of the owl (Athenceum 
Club). Cellar smoking - room (until 
1899, when the Council added a floor, 
part of which was the newfumoir of the 
Athenaeum), where the visitor was at 
once met by the topaz eyes of the high- 
perched owl, raised in honour of the 
tutelary goddess of that ilk, Minerva. 

Shadwoking (Soc.). Grotesque 
rendering of shadowing. 

Shake a flannin (Navvies', 19 cent.). 
To fight. (See Flannel-jacket.) 

Shake fleas ( Old Eng. ). To thrash . 

Shake leg (Peoples'). Remove. 

Shake old fel (American). Greet- 
ing ' Shake hands, old fellow.' 

Shake-out (Stock Exchange, 19 cent.). 
Sudden revulsion and following clear- 
ance due to panic, the result of dis- 
covery of fraud, or of stupendous 
bankruptcy, or even the death of a 
powerful financier of known specula- 
tive turn of mind. 

After Saturday's heavy shake-out in 
New York, occasioned by the news of 
Mr Flower's death, the market has 
settled down a little in consequence of 
the evidences afforded that the big 
financial houses were fully prepared to 
grapple with the situation. D. T.. 16th 
May 1899. 

Shake-up (Peoples'). Start, begin- 
ning, spurring. 

The first French Revolution, with all 
its attendant horrors, was entirely due 
to the fact that in a little preliminary 
shake-up the Paris masses found them- 
selves, to nobody's surprise more than 
their own, fully equal to cope with 
the gendarmerie. Ref., 27th November 

Shake yer toe - rag (Beggars') 
Show a clean pair of heels run away. 

Shakespeare-navels (Lond. Youths', 
1870). Long - pointed, turned -down 

Sham-abram (Peoples'). Pretend 
illness. Very common use still in 
the Navy. The captain is sham- 
abraming again he wants a day on 
shore, to see a doctor. 

Sham-ateurs (Sporting). People 
who are not even amateurs. 

The amateurs of Pancras Road showed 
themselves distinctly different from the 
sham-ateurs of Her Majesty's Theatre. 
Ref., 16th December 1888. 

Shamrock (Military, 19 cent.). A 
bayonet prick. 

Shan von Voght (Irish Peoples'). 
The Pasquinade, Mrs Harris, or Paul 
Pry of Irish life. 

Can anything as spirited and stirring 
as the ' Shan von Voght ' be rhymed in 
favour of declining to pay rent? ti. N.. 
5th November 1883. 

Shanghai gentleman (Naval). The 
very reverse of a gentleman. 

Shank (American). Centre or heart. 
From the shank or grip of a button. 

Why, you ain't going home already ? 
It's right in the shank of the evening. 
Texas Siftings, 1883. 

Shank yersels awa (Scotch). Take 
yourselves off move your shanks. 

Shant of bivvy (Hatton Garden). 
Pint of beer. 

Shan't take salt ( Theatrical). Small 
returns. Good example of an elision 
creating obscurity. Means, ' We shall 
not take enough money to pay for salt, 
let alone bread.' 

Shape up (Peoples', 18 cent.). Show 
fight from the aspect of a prize- 
fighter when prepared to kill. 

When Fred called him an all-round 
ass he shaped up ! 

Shapes and shirts (Theat., 1883). 
Satirical name given by young come- 
dians of the present day to distinguish 




old actors, who swear by the legiti- 
mate Elizabethan drama, which in- 
volves either the 'shape' or the 
' shirt ' the first being th